Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Head Cold Demon

The pounding within my head today will not subside. What started with a sore throat Saturday afternoon has worked its way into a deep cough, a runny nose, and an atrocious headache.

What happened to this thing getting better?
I figured some nights of NyQuil, some days of DayQuil and pushing through would bring me to bluer skies, but instead the head cold demon is grabbing hold of me more fervently.

So I'm giving up, I cannot fight it alone... time for the doctor visit. I'm hoping my 11:15am doctor's appointment will bring me closer to head clarity... maybe give me some drugs that will knock whatever this is out.

AND it's NEW YEAR'S EVE... I've got to be better to be social, right?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmastime Is Gone

As quickly as Christmastime came upon us this year, (did anyone else feel like it was here before you knew it?!), with even more speediness I feel it has gone!

I don't know what it is... maybe it's the necessary evil of going back to work after a break and time with family. Or that Christmas decorations are taken down by many right away. Or the discussion about the "new year" is made even before the last Christmas present is open. Whatever it is... I feel as if Christmas has gone for the year.

Sure, I have my decorations still up, and all the gifts we were given have not yet been put away... but there is something in the air that says the NEW YEAR is upon us rather than Christmas is here.

So with Christmastime passing us by and another awesome year with family during the holidays gone, I find myself ready to change my blog background away from the red and greens of Christmastime. Instead, here is my NEW YEAR background.

Lord, I pray this year that we may walk with you a little more closely, and that we may bless others as you have blessed us each day!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Favorite Gift

Although some families can have conversations like this over the holidays:

Clark Griswold:
Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?

Naw, I'm doing just fine, Clark.

I'm not one of them. I'm blessed beyond measure with the family that surrounds me! Christmas brought home this reminder once again... I love my family! God has blessed me so!

We had an amazing Christmas time this year... maybe it was because Brent (Robin's husband, my "new" brother-in-law) is now officially part of the family this year, or because we played "Dirty Santa" with the Wilson family side and cracked up throughout it all, or just because my family rocks, either way this year was fantastic! We had hilarious fellowship, great food, good fun, and were blessed beyond measure with gifts. What a year!

My favorite gift of the season went beyond the monetary blessing it brought to me, rather the awesomeness within the gift was the way in which we had to get it.

Let me paint the picture for you: it's Christmas Day... the entire immediate family is opening Christmas presents: stockings and wrapped gifts. Mom and Dad announce before we start opening that everyone (the kids) has a gift with a very small bow on it. We are not to open that gift until the end, and everyone must open their gifts together. Therefore, after being spoiled with all of our stocking and gifts, we all begin to open our special gift with great anticipation.

Drummer please....

Very excited about what might be in store, I tore into the wrapped box with the tiny bow on top. I opened a box to find a can of tuna fish in it. YUCK. Kelly had two cans of tomato juice in his. Brent had a can of spaghetti o's. Robin and Kelsey each had a bar of soap.

What the heck?!

We sat there all confused as Mom and Dad laughed together and took pictures of our confused faces...

And then it was found - a piece of paper taped to the bottom of each "gift". Mine said: "Heather #1". Kelly's said: "Kelly's #2". Brent, Robin, and Kelsey had the same with their names on their respective "gifts". As we pulled off these pieces of paper and turned them over... we discovered what was really unfolding - A SCAVENGER HUNT!

It was so hilariously fun! Mom and Dad were amazing with their planning! And the gifts we found in each of our hidden places blew us away. Here are what Kelly and my clues said:

Mom and Dad, thank you for the most amazing time we've had in a long while. We all loved it, and have bragged about the fun ever since. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Home, Sweet, Home for the Holidays

After a 10 day trip to Kansas City, never making our way to Denver due to weather, we are back at the house. We're back, the laundry has begun, and half of the vacuuming has been completed.

I truly cannot believe that it's the week of Christmas. It seems quite surreal. The hubby and I are working in "the Christmas spirit" by watching one of Kelly's favorites: It's a Wonderful Life.

Before we swing into the happening of the next few days of yuletide and the many family festivities that will occur throughout Christmas, I want to share some pictures from our fantastic trip.

We were spoiled left and right by my Uncle Frank and Aunt Terri throughout the entire visit. From the Kansas vs. UMass basketball game at the SprintCenter, to amazing eats and drinks throughout the week, to enjoying U Frank's man-cave complete with a huge HD Tv and surround sound Bose style, to sleeping in each morning, to visiting wonderfully with family - the trip was excellent.

Things to know before looking at the pictures below: Madison, Clayton, and baby Coleton are my cousin's children. Lyndy is their mom. You'll see quite a few of them - they are most adorable!

Below is a self made picture of Madison, myself, and Clayton. For some reason the first couple of days Madison had a thing about "not smiling".

Here is a shot Kelly caught of the kids sitting in my lap. Clay is making a "funny face," or so he calls it, and Madison is cracking up because she's pushing us all back with her feet on the couch... hence the strain like look on my face.

For Christmas my parents (who came up with sister, Kelsey on Friday) gave Madison a pair of dress up high heels, a feather boa, and some jewelery. Madison is shown here sporting her new outfit. Notice the hip action, she's got 'tude.

Brother Clay did not want to miss the action with the boa, so he took a shot at it later in the evening.

We also had the pleasure of hanging out with Kelly's dad, Larry while in Kansas City. He's working on a project in KC for his job... we were able to enjoy two great dinners with Larry and have him join the Hansen Family (mom's side) Christmas event Saturday night.

Yeah, so mom has a "grinch" face... as we lovingly refer to it. We asked mom to make the grinch face in this shot, as well as have Kelly and Kelsey make their own.

Who knew a 4 year old could be so cute? I think she knows.

Once Kelsey arrived in KC, Kelly had his goofy sister right by his side. They are two pees in a pod, sometimes it's scary. I think they crack each other up.

Clayton is most adorable when he says Kelly's name... it comes out "Telly"... so cute! He and Madison wanted Telly to come watch Backyardigans with them. They asked over and over until they wore Telly down and he accepted the offer. Here is a shot of Clay enjoying some Backyardigans while sitting in Telly's lap.

I had to get a shot of the cuz and me. We were inseparable as younger folks... harder to get all the one on one time we like with families these days but I still adore this gal. So happy to see her this past week!

Mom's parents: Grandma and Grandpa Hansen.

Cabela's is one of the massive stores in a shopping center near my Aunt and Uncle... there we shopped for a couple gifts and found a fun "shooting game" within the store. Here is a picture of Allison (cousin) and I showing off the riffles we shot during the game.

I got a shot with Grandma & Grandpa together with me. Grandma makes the most awesome cheese cake. I had multiple pieces throughout our stay. Yum, Yum!

And last but not least, here is a goofy shot we took ourselves to send out to a couple folks during our trip. I called it our "hi" picture. See I'm waving. Yes. I'm a dork.

I took many more photos, but I'll post those on facebook and will not bore you with them here. Needless to say the trip was more than we expected, an even better time than we imagined. Thank you to all our fabulous family for taking better care of us than we can ourselves!!! We're so blessed with an awesome family... so thankful!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kelly's Happy Place: Panera Bread

In the past my hubby has posted the following gmail tagline: "I love my wife, my dogs, and Panera Bread."

I cannot deny the truth in his statement above any longer. The man loves Panera Bread. It's now even coined his "happy place".

We have been in Kansas City since Saturday early morning, so within six days of visiting, we have been to Panera Bread three times! Once after church on Sunday, once yesterday, and again today. I believe we would have gone Saturday also, had Kelly known it's location prior to Sunday morning.

This morning, I became tickled with my husband's extreme love for Panera Bread and I insisted that he pose with the Panera Bread cup to show in a photo some of his affection for the place.

Ha ha. I think the photo accurately portrays his love. What do you think?

What does Kelly get when he comes to Panera? Well, that's an interesting questions today. The answer is: a Cinnamon Crunch Bagel with Hazelnut Cream Cheese.

Usually he has the bagel toasted, but we've discovered that Kansas City Panera Bread's do not have an industrial sized toaster they can put their bagels through. We've seen these toasters at every other Panera locations we've visited... in Lexington, KY, in Nashville, TN, in Destin, FL, and I'm sure a couple other locations for Kelly. Therefore on the first day, Kelly microwaved his Cinnamon Crunch Bagel. I don't know what he did the second day with the bagel - it was at a different location but they did not have a toaster either.

But today... WHA-LA... the first Panera we went to on Sunday all of a sudden had a regular size bagel toaster located near their microwave! Coincidence? I think not! My hubby may have given them a good suggestion, so he toasted that bagel today... well after an incident.

See the interview below to discover how Kelly succumbed to "product marketing" and ordered something different than the Cinnamon Crunch Bagel with Hazelnut Cream Cheese. It might take a bit to load, but it's worth hearing Kelly tell his story. Enjoy.

So, as you can tell... ordering something beyond his norm was a mistake, and we ended up paying for a second breakfast to bring him back to "old faithful" and allow him to once again enjoy his "happy place".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Traditions: The McGugan Mailer

One of the many cool things about getting married and creating your own family is the fact that you can make your own traditions. The hubby and I were looking forward to that process as our first Christmas as man & wife approached. This year, we have worked to continue those beginning traditions, and I can only imagine they will increase as we have children (besides our dogs).

One of those now set McGoo traditions is the writing and mailing of The McGugan Mailer. Each year (two in a row now... so not going on a record or anything yet), we have printed a Snapfish photo Christmas card and have created our McGugan Mailer. The Mailer is a newsletter that we've created - yes I'm a dork and like these kind of things, but most of you are well aware of that by now - to help keep our friends and family in touch with the happenings of the last year. It's complete with story telling, pictures, and a top ten list of things learned over the year.

I've learned that most of our recipients have received the card by now (maybe not the Canadian relatives and friends in Ireland and Japan, but most), so I am comfortable with posting about the Mailer. However, I'm almost positive whoever reads my blog is probably just a group of the same people - so hopefully I'm not spoiling anything for anyone.

Like my blog, I've so enjoyed the outlet of writing that The McGugan Mailer opens up for myself and the hubby. I think those that have a received it also get a good kick out of it, or at least roll their eyes and say, "only the McGoo's"... I'm proud of having either response.

Below is a sampling (well, more than that, a copy) of the 2008, Year 2 McGugan Mailer. My hope is that many more of these are created as Kelly and I grow old together.

McGugan Mailer - 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Plans Change - What do ya do?

Yeppers. The vacation plans have tweaked, but that does not mean the fun has to end.

As we learned and decided this morning that Denver would not be part of the vacation adventure today, or maybe not even for the week, we got creative with our entertainment.

After a leisure morning, we headed out the door for lunch, a movie, and some shopping. Below is what our drive looked like on the way home - it was worse on the way. Thank goodness Kelly is capable of driving in snow, I was a nervous wreck. I can't imagine if we had attempted to drive 9 hours in this stuff, I would be a mess (even more than usual) by the time we arrived.

While at the huge shopping center, the hubby and I caught a flick, ate some grub, and window shopped. Below is a picture of the Christmas tree in the center of the shopping center. It's huge! I thought it was pretty and festive, so had to get a pic.

While the hubby and I went against the weather conditions for a bit of entertainment, one of the funny things that happened throughout the day involved a "Kelly-ism".

One of the restaurants in the large shopping center today was HOOTERS. As we attempted to choose a restaurant for lunch,

Kelly asked with a sly grin, "What about HOOTERS?"

I laughed and said, "I'd rather not. I don't want to look at girls butts and eat their hot wings today."

Kelly replied, "Well, they're probably cold in there. Better yet, I think when it's cold outside HOOTERS should not longer be called HOOTERS, it should be called NIPPLES!"

That's when I hit him on the arm and cracked up.

The news just reported that the total snow accumulated after the snow fall was 3.0 inches in the city and suburbs. More planned for Thursday. It sure looked like more snow than that arrived here in the Bonner Springs/Speedway area!

A Kansas City Winter Wonderland

7:55 am - We woke up to a Kansas City Winter Wonderland.

These pictures do not do the sight justice. I forgot our "big" camera, so this one does not pick up all the individual flakes. But it's coming down. Have some decisions to make about our travels... today is supposed to be LEG #2 travels to Denver.

9:10am update - snow is still coming down! Looking at the I-70 Interstate forecast (which is the entire route to Denver) the snow is not supposed to stop until we hit Colorado... therefore the decision has been made. I have never driven in snow, my hubby has not in awhile, why chance it? We will not be traveling to Denver today.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Great Start

A great start to our vacation!

Amazingly I did the driving from Memphis to St. Louis with a pit stop in Sikeston, MO to enjoy Lambert's for dinner. By the way... I ordered a House Salad at Lambert's and look what I was served:

Oh my goodness!!! Yes. I took a picture of my food. I couldn't help it. Do you see the size of that thing?!

Another waiter walked by our table before I began to "tackle" the salad and his words were: "Good luck with that salad m'am". No kidding! Could you pile anymore salad on this massive bread bowl?? Geez louizzz.

Anywho, I have gotten sidetracked... Once in St. Louis, Kelly took over the driving and I (again amazingly) stayed up with him the rest of the trip. We made it into Kansas City Saturday morning at 1:38am. Upon our arrival to Uncle Frank's and Aunt Terri's, we were showed our room and found it easy to fall into slumber.

We woke up Saturday morning about 10am, rested and ready to enjoy our vacation. U (short for uncle) Frank & A (short for Aunt) Terri had a fabulous day planned out for us, and we quickly accepted the offer. We love their company so it was an easy decision, but when you throw in their good taste on entertainment... we were sure to have a good time.

First we made our way to a local diner in downtown Kansas City. There we dined on diner hamburgers, spaghetti, and I forget what U Frank got. My cheese burger hit the spot. After lunch, we made our way to the Sprint Center for the University of Kansas vs. Massachusetts basketball game. Unfortunately the Jayhawks did not walk away with a victory, but being that my hubby and I are avid basketball/sports fans, we simply enjoyed the game and competition.

Following the game, all four of us made our way to a local restaurant and enjoyed a beer and good conversation for the next hour or two. Next, we went to this excellent Mexican restaurant, which happens to be A Terri's favorite and enjoyed good eats and drinks there too. Wow, we were stuffed by the time we walked out those doors. After dinner, U Frank drove us into the Plaza to show Kelly the lights, as well as make our yearly visit to the area - sort of a tradition. The Plaza is a great upscale shopping area in Kansas City. Every year, on Thanksgiving night they light the plaza up with Christmas lights. The picture on my past blog describing our vacation spots shows a picture of the Plaza. It's really pretty... busy area of town during the holiday shopping, but pretty nonetheless.

The Plaza was our last piece of outside the home entertainment before we headed back to the Bryant homestead. Boy, what a day. It was an absolutely perfect way to start our vacation, and U Frank & A Terri completely spoiled us along the way! We're so thankful to have such good family!

Once we made it home, the long day, the drive earlier that morning, and probably some of the beverages caught up with Kelly made my hubby realize how tired he was... so about 8pm he hit the sack. I waited for my cousin to show up. Lyndy (my cuz) has three kids now, and I had not seen two of them (Madison & Clayton) for about a year and half, and one is a brand new, four week old addition, so I was looking forward to the visit. Below is a shot of me Saturday night with my new cousin (second cousin really), Coleton. What a handsome boy he is!

So far, all I can say about our vacation is that we're having a blast. Today we went to church, then to my hubby's favorite breakfast establishment - Panera Bread. After Panera we visited the Nebraska Furniture Mart - oh my! The way Kelly said it today was "Best Buy on Steroids"... but you have to also add the biggest furniture store you've ever seen in the equation. It's big... It's actually huge! We even walked out... okay, not we... me... I even walked out with a desire to buy a certain chair. We may have more blog time on that later.

Other than that, we hung out with the family, watched football, played a lot with the kids, ate some awesome homemade cooked eats from A Terri and Grandma Hansen... finished the night with a few games of pool against U Frank and A Terri, and listened/watched the Brad Paisley concert DVD on U Frank's massive TV and phenomenal sound system.

I'll post more pictures of our adventure tomorrow. For now, heading to bed.
All I can say is that I'm blessed beyond measure with my family. Extended and Immediate. God really blessed us!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

A fun Christmas tune to share. My mom sent this one over to me today, and I enjoyed the song as well as the performance. Thought I'd share.

To view the fun, Click here. Enjoy

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Upcoming Travels

I can't wait. The hubby and I are taking a much desired vacation next week. A full week off of work and an exciting journey to look forward to!

We leave Friday (Dec. 12th), after work...

We will drive to Kansas City, KS (478.85 miles ~ 8 hours) to visit with my side of the family. I'm so excited to visit with our relatives. It's my mom's side of the family. We will get to visit my grandparents, Uncle Frank & Aunt Terri, Uncle Steve & Aunt Lisa, and my cousins. My cousin Lyndy & her husband, Dan had baby #3 recently and I cannot wait to meet the new Farr Family addition. Plus, it's been WAY too long since I've seen their other two adorable babies who are not so baby-ish anymore. So I'm pumped. We'll go see a University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks) game with Uncle Frank & Aunt Terri on Saturday, and look forward to simply enjoying every one's company the remaining days of our stay.

On Tuesday (Dec. 16th), the hubby and I will make our second leg of the trip. We will drive to Denver, CO (588.89 miles ~ 8 hours 45 minutes) to visit with our friend Kim and her boyfriend. We're excited to see the city, visit with friends in the area, and hopefully see the slopes for a day or two. I haven't skied but for one week when I was in my junior year of high school. This could get interesting.

We will make our way out of Denver on Saturday (Dec. 20th), and travel back to Kansas City (588.89 miles ~ 8 hours 45 minutes) to spend the night before our last leg of the journey. In addition, we will meet my mom, dad, and youngest sister at my aunt and uncle's house. With everyone (except our middle sis and brother in law) in KC together, we are going to do our Christmas exchange early.

Lastly, Sunday morning (Dec. 21st) we plan on making the last drive home to Memphis (478.85 miles ~ 8 hours). Back to work early Monday morning. What a trip!

I think if I total the estimated miles on that... it adds up to 2135.48 miles in a 8-9 day time frame. Whoo, that's a trip! Let the journey begin. I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring, I wish I could be snoring!

I can hear the rain pounding on the roof, the wind blowing it against the building, and the waves of hard gusts that sound like the clouds have opened up upon us for a monsoon, and settle down again to a soft constant putter. It's raining, it's pouring, and really wish I could be snoring!

It's been a rough few days. Work has been stressful. I looked at my blog and realized I must have been especially busy or tired of the computer when at home because I have not posted in almost a week - something a bit out of my norm. I'm tired. I have a long to do list, and I find myself wanting to sit on the couch, cuddled up in warmth and veg, rather than tackle the tasks I have before me.

So what have I been doing since I last posted - minus the J.O.B.?
Let's see... Christmas decorations are up! From the tree, to the garland, to stockings, to outside lights (Thanks for freezing with me Erin Marie! Your work is admired daily!), to the wreath hung on the front door, Christmas decorations are up. Kelly has started finals and taken two, with two more assignments/tests to go... all the while fighting sickness. He went to the doctor yesterday and is now being treated for Bronchitis. We've completed the McGugan Mailer - more to come on that. Ordered Christmas photo cards and began to stuff envelopes and address them. Ate dinner with mom and dad. Attended Tommy White's 30th surprise party - and boy did we surprise him! Happy B'day Tommy! Went to Sunday School and Church. Baked Christmas goodies with Erin Marie on Sunday afternoon. Ate dinner and roasted smores with Frank & Emily at their house- got a speeding ticket on the way home. Wrapped presents. Etc.

And for some reason throughout all of that, I never got on the computer to blog. It just seemed like their was always something to do or something to be done. If I did get some down time, it was due to my desire to ignore other things and just veg.

It's raining, it's pouring, and really wish I could be snoring!

Another favorite pic from Dooce.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

TOMS Shoes

This October, my sisters and brother in law went in together to buy me a birthday gift. Unfortunately when the gift arrived, it was a 1/2 size too small... so I had to send the gift back and wait for the new size to arrive. Happily, the gift arrived in the correct size this week.

They bought me a pair of TOMS Shoes. I mentioned that I wanted a pair and gave them free reign to choose a color/pattern. Today I'm happily wearing my birthday gift from Kelsey, Robin, and Brent. Thanks guys. I love them. Super Comfy!

If you're not familiar with TOMS Shoes, click the link above and check out their website. They do some cool stuff - for every pair purchased, a second pair is donated to those without shoes. Pretty cool vision.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Carpe Deal'em 2008

What is Carpe Deal'em?
Carpe Deal'em is a Black Friday Riser family tradition. This year (2008) was the fourth official Carpe Deal'em in the Riser household. Black Friday has always been a day of deals for the Riser family, but not until 2004 did the Riser men take control of the Black Friday madness - they discovered a better way.

Carpe Deal'em is an activity for the Riser family men. They hunt for the deals on Black Friday and bring back the booty to the rest of the family. The usual course of events consists of 3 Riser men. The driver, the line stander, and the hunter/gatherer. The driver drops the line stander and the hunter/gather off at the store's door. The line stander automatically finds his place in the long Black Friday lines. The hunter/gatherer finds all the requested items from the circulars and brings them to the line stander. They checkout, and are picked up back at the door by the driver. On to the next adventure. The described teamwork allows for the men to hit many stores very quickly.

What do the Riser ladies do?
The ladies' mission prior to Carpe Deal'em is to dive into the circulars (ads) on Thanksgiving night. They search through each ad and find all the door buster deals, as well as other sales that they want the men to conquer. At the end of Thanksgiving night, each circular has a piece of paper stuck within it that has each desired item listed with a description and the sale price advertised. These circulars and lists are what the men take on their mission.

Why is it named Carpe Deal'em?
Carpe Deal'em means "Seize the Deal".
Even before Carpe Deal'em was officially established, it has always been a Riser family tradition to participate in Black Friday, looking for the best deals possible. Steve Riser Sr. used to wake up his son, Steve JR and say, "Time to get up J.R.... For the Glory of the Deal". Therefore, a common slogan used within Carpe Deal'em is that: For the Glory of the Deal.

Who is Riser?
Kelly suggested I let everyone know, who is Riser. I keep talking about the Riser Family, but have given little background to how we know them. The Riser family are friends of ours. Steve Riser is a good buddy of ours that lives in Memphis. His family lives north of Kelly's in Kentucky. We have the luxury of traveling to KY for everything Thanksgiving with Steve Riser. He drives, we ride. He drops us off in Lexington on the way to Villa Hills. It's a pretty sweet deal, really. The Riser family are great people (Steve's family) that have often opened their home to us on multiple occasions.

With all of the above background in mind.... welcome to Carpe Deal'em 2008.

This year, the Riser family tradition (Steve Sr, Steve Jr, and son-in-law/brother-in-law Scotty B) invited my hubby to participate in Carpe Deal'em. The Riser's live about an hour or so north of Lexington (where we go to see Kelly's family during Thanksgiving each year), so we made a trip up to Villa Hills to be a part of the action. We traveled Thanksgiving evening and arrived at the Riser house in time to eat dinner and search through the circulars. I quickly learned the ropes as Summer (Steve's younger sister & Scott's wife) taught me some of the tricks of the trade. It was neat to see all the sales, and to think that the boys could actually get to a store in time to catch many of the door busters and special sales. Their was an excitement in the air. I made my list, thinking of all the presents we had left to buy for Christmas, and talked Kelly through my desired items.

Looking through the circulars that had been marked, the guys made a list of stores they needed to visit, as well as the suggested order to the stops. We said goodnight about 10pm or so, and all headed to bed.

3am arrived and the men of Carpe Deal'em were up and moving, matching T-shirts were sported, and they were out the door by 3:30am! The ladies did not see them until 6 hours later, when they came home with the booty. We went outside, greeted their arrival and looked at the treasure they brought.

The stats from Carpe Deal'em:
18 stops in 6 hours
16 stores, and 2 eating (Speedway for coffee & Panera Bread later for breakfast)

That means the guys hit 18 locations on Black Friday with an average time of 20 minutes per store, which INCLUDED travel time!

They tore it up! With Kelly in tow, there was a driver (Steve Sr), a line stander, and two hunters/gatherers.

Here are some photos of the experience:

Every year a new slogan is created for that year. This year the slogan read: "Tell me how my deal taste!" The first official deal of the Carpe Deal'em experience was these shirts... see how Deal'em is spelled incorrectly? They got the shirts for free because of it.

This is a picture of the stash... the booty... the treasure... see the Carpe Deal'em deals and the proud and tired men that found them!

Steve Riser Jr. Quote following this year's adventure:
"We got so many deals we may have to change the name to carpe steal em'"

Kelly McGugan's Quote following this year's adventure:
"Deals were bought and made. Carpe' Deal Em was a success"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bragging on My Man

Yep, I have to do it. Before we head to KY I need to give a little props - scratch that, a LOT of props to my man!

I had expressed to him that we needed to clean house, do laundry, pack and some other similar activities all before we headed out of town. I work throughout the day, so we knew most of it would have to be done Tuesday night (last night). I had prepared myself that Kelly would probably do a load of laundry or so during the day, but the majority would be up to my delegation and push on Tuesday night.

My, oh my, how my man surprised me!!! I walked into the house last night with the smell of fresh fragrance and vacuumed rugs. I looked around thinking, "he has cleaned a bit", and then Kelly came out of the kitchen with a glass of white wine poured for me! Wow.

He had vacuumed, emptied the dishwasher, taken out the trash, put dishes in the sink in the now empty dishwasher, done multiple loads of laundry, folded those clothes when each load was complete, and tidied up the kitchen and living room. It was PERFECT!!! I barely had to touch anything until we changed our sheets this morning for our house sitter and I laid out my clothes for the long weekend.

Awesome! Thanks honey, you're so wonderful to me! God has blessed me more than I could have imagined with you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

For some, especially those married, the holidays can bring about a stress. Where will we go for Thanksgiving, can we see both families during the holiday? What about Christmas, will we see both during that time? Do we do Christmas Eve at one place? What about Christmas day? But they want to see us, and what about them? Can we make it to both, or all? Etc.

Questions like the above are asked by many. Will we see his side of the family, will we see hers? Will we see both, or just one? It can be a struggle. I've heard many friends and family go through these questions with a stress and concern. They want to make sure everyone feels loved and they also have their own desires of where they want to be and when. It can be hard.

I am so thankful for my setup. What a blessing. I find myself stress free right before Thanksgiving, looking forward to celebrating my thankfulness for my family and friends.

Kelly and I set up the "program" from the point of our engagement... and I've been so thankful for the stress free nature of it all. We are blessed with a family that does not pressure us. Sure they want to see us, but they understand that the holidays can be a juggling act, and they want what's best for us!

What's the plan we go by? Thanksgiving in KY, Christmas at home. Always (well, until kids come into the picture, I hear that rearranges something, okay, lots of things). We'll talk another day about Christmas, it'll be here before we know it. For now, I'll discuss Thanksgiving.

Kelly's mom, grandparents, aunt, cousins and some siblings live in Lexington, KY. I love making our yearly trip up there for Thanksgiving. The weather is usually cold, and the leaves have either fully changed colors or began to fall. I feel right at home, and enjoy the time to catch up with my in-laws. Good eats and great company makes for lack of room to complain.

We leave tomorrow for our visit. We'll arrive late Wednesday night and stay until Sunday evening. My posting might be limited (or non existent) until we return.

For now here is a pic from my first Thanksgiving in Kentucky, the year we got engaged, 2006.

Left to right: Randy (cousin, now married - can't wait to meet his wife, Meredith), Myself, Kelly, Aunt Terri (Randy's mom), and Laurie (my mother in law)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I've never been so disappointed with my dog. Seriously.

Dexter is now 8months old... he sleeps without a kennel, but when we leave the house he usually stays inside his kennel during those hours. We have been doing our best to work him out of the kennel completely. Our other dog, Kodi - 8 years old - does not use a kennel. We let him chill in our bedroom or wherever he likes while we're away from the house. So our desire is to have Dexter do the same.

A couple days ago we left Dex out of his kennel while we ran a few errands. We were gone for about 2 hours. We came home to find everything still in it's place, minus a piece of paper Dex got hold of - but that's small potatoes.

So today we attempted to leave Dexter kennel free during our church outing. We left at 920am, went to Sunday School, Church, lunch and a quick visit to South Campus to finish off a couple details about the Men's Soccer Team Equipment. We were home by 2:30pm... so Dexter had 5 hours of testing time. On our way home we were optimistic but still realistic about what we would possibly find on our return home.

The result was far worse then a I imagined.
See below:

One image is torn up carpet. Yep. We have carpet (old, nasty carpet, nonetheless, but it's still there) in between our kitchen and bathroom... Dexter devoured it. The second image is what hurt the most... this is what is left of my pillow case. My Hotel Collection pillow case! Not Kelly's side... nope he took on Mom's pillow case. Thankfully the pillow itself was left in tack, he just somehow took the pillow case to town, while it was still on the pillow.

Here you see a picture of our back living room coffee table. The dog chewed it raw. What the heck!? And the final picture is where I put Dexter after giving him a "telling to"... he knew mom was upset.

I find myself being overly disappointed and also a little heart broken. It hurt so much to discipline him so, but MAN did he deserve it! What a little punk he was during our absence! I guess the most disappointing part is the feeling of: "Will we ever be able to leave him out alone like Kodi? Will we ever get rid of using a kennel?"

Ahhh, the joys of puppy ownership.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My day today.... wow.

Today at lunch half of our company had the luxury of being taken to Bonefish, on the company's dime. Lunch was delicious. The other half of the crew will go on Monday. Needless to say, after the lunch outing, many of us had eaten and drank enough to keep the toilets busy for the rest of the afternoon. On my way home from the restaurant, I discovered my intense need to use the facilities and go number one. I make my way quickly to the bathroom after we arrive back at the office... quickly do the normal routines of a girl bathroom activity, but see right before I sit that the toilet water looks very high. Finding my need for release greater than my curiosity, I sat anyway and peed. Once it was time to flush, I realized why the water was a bit higher... the toilet did not flush in full rather it did a half way kind of flush only taking half of the toilet paper with it. I grab the plunger, gave it a couple hard plunges, but it only did a half way job there after... so I took the lid off, piddled with that, plunged a bit more, and felt the toilet had gotten to a sufficient point - no more toilet paper in the bowl, new water in there and all, even though it didn't do it's good full form flushing routine. So I left the bathroom after putting the lid back on the toilet, washing my hands... and headed back to my desk.

Before I had answered my second email, my coworker Traci arrived at my cubicle. "Heather, did you just use the toilet? Did you have to plunge?"

"Yes? Is everything okay?" I responded.

"Uhhh, no. I peed and left a tampon in there, and when I went to flush, it started to rise. I plunged and plunged but it's not doing right. Can you come help?"

So back to the bathroom we went, where we met another coworker walking out with a worried look on her face, "don't go in there something is no right".

We quickly let her know that we were aware of the problem and that's why we were there. She followed us back in.

Evaluating the scene, the toilet was filled about 7/8 of the way full... with toilet paper and tampon floating around like boats in choppy waters. I quickly took charge and grabbed the plunger. I plunged a couple times, stopped when I saw no change to the nature of the water level and asked my coworkers what they thought we should do. We evaluated the situation a bit more... and took the lid off the toilet. There we discussed the toilet flushing process and talked through how we usually flush the water out of the top of the toilet, which in turn ends up taking away the water in the bowl first and refilling with fresh water. I quickly announced that while I was bending over the toilet with my feet close by, I did not want to attempt to flush it again.

Traci caught my drift, and boldly stated, "Watch you feet", as she pushed the lever down.

Automatically the water rose with the quickness of a hurricane coming onto the ocean shore... water flowed abundantly over the toilet seat, pouring all over the bathroom floor with a splash...

"ahhhh!!!!" the three of us screamed, as we jumped back as far as we could.

As the water settled, I stepped into the waters, and went back to work. "What do I do?"

We realized at this point that we might need to ask a male for assistance. I attempted the slow, deep plunges a couple time, but saw my actions were in vain.

(Side note, as we're actively discussion and attempting to find the solution to this problem, a fellow male coworker found his way in the room outside of the bathroom... he hears all the commotion and can see one coworker standing in the door way. He stops and listens...)

"Who do we go get?" we asked each other.

While the girls discussed finding a male helper, I began attempting to catch the tampon in the plunger, in order to throw it away so the male helper would not have to see the product. This was a hilarious act in itself as I imagine I looked like someone trying to catch a large goldfish out of a tank with a plunger. Not happening!

Thankfully one of my coworkers discovered the male outside the doorway and asked, "What do we do?"

"Short quick plunges," we were instructed.

The girls yelled back to me, "Heather, short quick plunges!"

So I went at it... pushing the plunger down in short bursts, unsure as to the correct technique, but only following what I had been told.

"Faster! Faster!" Traci yelled. Fully unaware as to how the scene was unfolding.

I continued to quickly push down the plunger in those short burst as fast as possible, and began to get the giggles.

And soon, like magic, the water, toilet paper, tampon disappeared and only a toilet bowl remained... slowly water - at a normal height - began to rise, and we cheered with an accomplished celebration! yay!

Now on to correcting the water laden floor problem, Traci quickly grabs a mop and begins pushing the water forward. With this particular mop, all that did was slush the toilet water up to the wall, which gravity then pushed back down towards us. Thankfully our other coworker asked, "Uhh, Traci, where do you think that water is going?"

We laughed and realized that paper towels were going to be our only practical solution. We put down the towels and used the mop to collect them throughout the floor, wiping it clean. Wow... we made it. That was a bit of work, huh?

Needless to say, due to the loud nature of the event my coworkers and I experience, and because of the hysterical technique I was asked to use to find a solution to the clogged/overflowed toilet... news spread quickly throughout the office. We've laughed about it all afternoon, and everyone has commented as we shared out story. Funny stuff.

If you need any details on the way to help your toilet out in a circumstance like this... a coworker graciously shared this link with us after hearing our story:

Happy toileting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trace Adkins - You're Gonna Miss This

My daddy sent my sisters and I an email last night:

Hey Ladies,
Ya'll pay special attention to this Trace Adkins video. Saw and listened and thought of each of you.

Love you,
Mom & Dad

The words that came to mind once I finished this beautiful song and video was: One day at a time, right? Let God bless us with the HERE AND NOW.

Thanks Daddy for sharing!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Road to Recovery

The saying goes, sometimes things must get worse in order for them to get better.

Kelly's leg is a case in point. Updated picture of what his hamstring area looks like externally today. I'd have to agree that it's probably torn. Yuck. Heat and Ice, Ice and Heat continues.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Shack

I am off to my next reading adventure: The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young.

So far, I am enjoying this book. It's an easy read, and quick to get through. The quote on the front of the book from Eugene Peterson intrigues me, so I hope it lives up to the promise. He says, "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!"

I have a quote for the day. It's a quote that sits below the title of the first chapter of the book.

Two roads diverged in the middle of my life,
I heard a wise man say
I took the road less traveled by
And that's made the difference every night and every day

- Larry Norman (with apologies to Robert Frost)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Worthless and Unproductive

I have been absolutely worthless the last couple of days.

Leaving sick from work on Wednesday, I made my way home at 930am. Since 10am yesterday I have taken two doses of NiQuil, slept over 24 hours, eaten a bit, piddled on the computer, and have watched TV.

What a worthless couple of days... I would say that I've been bored, but every time I hit the place of possible boredom I fell asleep again. The hubby joked today that I've gotten my quota for sleep hours, but I think at least the extra, super extra rest has helped kick whatever sickness I might have had... I am happy to say that as of a couple hours ago... I am beginning to feel much better! If this keeps up, I'll be certain to make it to work tomorrow and be ready for all the weekend activities planned.

HGTv - yes I'm still addicted - entertained me throughout the awake daytime TV hours. Can't get enough of it. Wish I had all the tools and know how of those folks - wow!

Below is just a random photo of me from Robin's wedding weekend (Sept 08). It seemed to fit with the thought of being worthless and unproductive for a couple days.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kickball - NOT for the faint of heart!

Kelly and I are in a weekly coed kickball league. We love it! A great time to express your competitiveness, but not so competitive as soccer because you haven't played this your entire life. Good time to joke around, hangout, and play a team game. A good time all around. For two seasons now we've played with The Underdogs.

Our first season, the Underdogs played mediocre during regular season play, but won the tournament to take home the Champion title.

This year... we were undefeated during season.

Our tournament was Saturday... believe me when I say in the title of this post that KICKBALL IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!! Starting at 11am, we played five kickball games throughout the day. The championship game completed about 5:00pm. It wore us out! Unfortunately we did not come home with the championship this year. We got the runner-up place, due to shooting ourselves in the foot.

The injury list for the McGugan family was compiled after the games:
Heather - sore all over her body, hurt to laugh for days, walking was slow and painful all over, and her left butt check kills because of all the squatting she did by pitching for five full games.
Kelly - possible torn hamstring- OUCH!!! The back of his left leg (where the hamstring is located) is black, blue, and brown. During the finals, Kelly kicked what would have been an "in the park" home run. He rounded first, felt the hamstring pull, rounded second and heard a pop. He then clumsily and painfully hobbled to third, where he stayed until the next hitter brought him home.

Moral of the story - kickball is not for the faint of heart, OR we're getting old. I chose the former.

So, the U of Memphis trainer told us that a good indication of Kelly's hamstring being torn, would be bruising. We did not see anything Saturday, nor Sunday... but by Monday, something bruise like showed up. But today (Tuesday)... wow. See below:

Some pictures from our tournament:

Me - acting like my goofy self. I don't take pictures by myself very seriously. I'm marking the score.

The girls of the Underdogs - Back Row: Luci, Kelly, Me, Andi. Front Row: Missy, Brook, and Dana.

Some of the boys of the Underdogs - Kelly (my hubby), Chris, Carper, Lamell, Whitehead, and Mac.

In other news... after the kickball game, Kelly & I rushed home to shower and get ready for a wedding. Here is a pic of us from the reception.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I am so thankful to be a part of our Sunday School class. Although we continue to be in the beginning stages of becoming a close, tight group - still getting to know one another, the learning process has already begun and I'm reveling in the journey. Each Sunday I become more confident that the Lord brought Kelly and I to this class, and we are going to walk together as a group in the faith.

Today we talked about The Discipline of Forgiveness. The class had more people show up than "big" seats available, therefore the people were plenty and the conversation and input was abundant. It was awesome! :)

A quote from our study sheet stated: Christians are not called to be disciplined; we are called to be disciples. And disciples of Jesus do not love the discipline of forgiveness; they love the people they are forgiving.

Through the Biblical readings (Matthew 6:11-15), the stories and experiences we shared, and the facilitating of the topic by Jay, we hashed out our feelings about forgiveness and how we effectively or ineffectively practice the discipline. Jay put our motivation for forgiveness in perspective by saying that it's not about us or the other person. Rather, forgiveness is about our love for God. Because we love God, we're going to do this, we're going to forgive those that wrong us, and humble ourselves to ask for forgiveness when we wrong another. It's not because we have to, or because we're told to, we should forgive because we love the Lord and want to glorify Him.

After some tough, convicting words out of our Sunday School class, we then made our way into the church service where Dr. Frey preached the Word again. Using Matthew 18:21-35 as a reference, Dr. Frey challenged us to forgive those that offend us and keep on forgiving them because Christ has forgiven us for even greater debts.

In Romans 3:10-12, we are reminded that no one does it right, no one is perfect. We all need forgiveness and we all will need to offer others forgiveness. "As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one. No one understands [no one intelligently discerns or comprehends]; no one seeks out God. All have turned aside; together they have gone wrong and have become unprofitable and worthless; no one does right, not even one!"

I'm humbly reminded again today that I am so thankful for the Lord and His Grace, for without it I wouldn't be able to stand. I do not have it right, and rarely do. I am a sinful woman, but I am thankful that I can crawl back to the foot of the cross and be reminded that I am forgiven.

I found myself needing to write what I learned today. More words penetrated my heart than is written here, but I've learned that when I write something down, and take notes of the key points, I am more likely to hold onto that truth... I hope that to be the case today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Putting It Into Perspective

Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. Within 20 days, we will be eating and drinking together, giving thanks for the many blessings we have been given. Less than three weeks, wow.

But what that thought really does for me, is remind me that Christmas is getting closer each day. By my count, Christmas is 48 days away.

48 days - or less than 7 weeks!

Start working on those Christmas lists. It'll be here before you know it!