Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Ryan!!

Well, it's official!  Happy Birthday Ryan!  Thirty ain't as bad as everyone makes it right??  Right??  *smile*

So, to commemorate the big Three-Oh I've got a few pictures to show you (thanks Ellyn!).  I'm sure Ryan is going to kill me when he sees this post on his phone in a few minutes, but they were just too dang cute to keep to myself.

Isn't he a sweetie!!  But wait, there's more!

Look at those cheeks!!

And, a full 30 years later, I think he turned out pretty great.

(Sorry for the reused picture.  I'll update the post later tonight with a new picture from dinner).

Happy Birthday Hubby!

Merry Christmas to all!!!

I just couldn't resist!!  I've seen it done, so I had to copy :O)  Check out Our Holiday card.  Ryan and I are wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

For those of you that can't load the above video using the link, here are a few screen grabs to keep you enteretained on this very happy day!

Serioulsy guys, go watch the video.  It's so much better with music. 

Merry Christams!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birthday Boy!!

Well, tomorrow morning it will be hubby will no longer be in his 20's!  Ek...I'm not far behind, but I will continue to claim my 20's for another full year and 4 months so "nah, nah, na, boo boo!!" :O)

This past weekend we celebrated Ryan's 30th birthday with friends and family alike.  On Saturday afternoon we had a little shindig for him at the Fox and Hound in Aurora.  We had a few snacks for everyone, and it was really great to see everyone, especially since it's so close to the holidays.  We know everyone is super busy right now, and we really appreciated the effort you made to be there to celebrate with Ryan. 

Even my Mom and Dad came out for the celebration. Check out my mommy's new bangs!  Aren't they cute. I'm so glad she did it!!

Ryan commented later in the evening how humbling it was to have everyone stop in the middle of the crazy holiday season to spend some time with him on his Birthday.  He got some great gifts, but was honored to see everyone there to celebrate with him.

Check out some pictures of the cake I made.  It was a total pain in the butt, but totally worth it!!

But, I have to confess.  As cool as the outside was, the inside was where all the glory was at:

Gosh, talk about a crappy picture!  Both shots I've got are blurry like that.  Oh well, you get the idea right?  It looks like caution tape on the inside.  It turned out pretty good, but it sure was a pain to make.  Let me know if you want a tutorial.

All in all, it was a pretty great day!  Thanks to everyone for coming out and making the day special for Ryan. 

And what that, no birthday post would be complete with out the "birthday song" video:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Big (and smaller) Doe Down!

This past weekend we spent the weekend in Freeport while the boys hunted.  It was second season shot gun and both the boys were successful!!

Ryan, Chris and I all took Friday off and made our way out to Freeport Thursday night.  That gave them plenty of time to bag some deer and it paid off.

On Friday morning Chris and Dad sat together and Ryan sat alone.  Ry saw a few deer but didn't take any shots and Chris and Dad didn't see any.  It might have had something to do with the fact that they did quite a bit of whispering as my Dad was getting Chris ready and knowledgeable about the process. 

All that instruction paid off big time when Chris shot his doe before 4pm on Friday afternoon.  The boys left the house around 2 pm so when I received a text with a picture of Chris and his dear before 4pm I knew things must have moved pretty quickly.  Chris's deer isn't a huge doe, but it sure is tasty that way.  Think about how good veil is.  That's because the meat is super tender.  Chris's deer is much like that (trust me...I've been eating deer for 3 days now).

After getting Chris's text I checked in with Ryan to see if he had seen anything he.  He said he hadn't so I certainly didn't expect to see two deer in the back of the pickup truck when the boys got home.  I don't have a picture of Ryan with his deer, but I do have this shot of the back of the truck.

Ry's deer is laying closer to the end of the tail gate.  You can clearly see that his is larger than Chris's but they were both great kills.  Dad estimates that Ry's deer is maybe 3 years old, and Chris's was most likely a spring fawn. 

The boys took the deer and had them checked in and then headed home.  We didn't eat venison on Friday night since it would still need to be butchered and cleaned, but Saturday night we had a huge feast!  Then on Sunday night, Chris and Brenna came to our house and we ground, mixed and packaged the meat, along with making another venison feast.  Tonight I made tacos with it, so simply put, we've been feasting on those deer for a few days now.  I think I'm going to have to come up with something else for tomorrow night :O)

WARNING!!  I've put together a little video of the pictures and movie the boys took this past weekend.  For the most part it's family (and non-deer hunter) friendly, but there is a short video included that is pretty gory.  If you don't want to see that part, I suggest fast forwarding around :40 and going through 2:10.  Trust me, you will thank me!  I'm telling you, it gets a bit graphic, so be ready!

UGH!  I don't even know how that is the picture YouTube pics to show up there.  I've tried to keep the pictures pretty clean, but I can't do anything about that video.  I am so so sorry!

In the mean time, I got tons of other stuff done this weekend including our Christmas cards.  I'm headed to stamp and seal them right now so keep a lookout for them in the mail. 

Another great weekend on the books.  The holiday season is upon us so we've got tons going on so you know what that means!  Blog posts for you guys.  Keep on checking back....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

She said it better than I ever could....

Disclaimer:  I didn't write this, I wish I did, but I didn't.  She just summed it up more eloquently than I could.  So, with that being's how I'm feeling:

Dear  Non-knitters who love a Knitter,
Today is the first of December, and I think it's probably pretty inevitable that you've heard from someone by now that Christmas is coming. (Pro-tip: They have scheduled it on the same day as last year. I think it's pretty consistent.) While regular people are about to have a very busy month, Knitters are under a special and unique strain.  They have to do everything that regular people do, and in addition,  they are undoubtedly knitting one or more items as gifts for Christmas, maybe for you.   They are going to need special love and attention for the upcoming month, and we can talk about that more later, but for now, this is all you need to know. The knitting all-nighters, the frequent trips to the yarn store, the desperation and sobbing when the last darning needle is gone, the way that at least once in the next month they're going to yell "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND WHY WOULD I WANT TO GO TO A MOVIE WITH YOU I CAN'T CABLE IN THE DARK YOU ARE SO INSENSITIVE" is about to start for you and your knitter. (If you know or are related to more than one holiday gift knitter, you may want to connect with others in the comments so that you can form a support group.  Multiple knitter contact in December can be emotionally difficult.)

Some of you may believe that it's the knitters choice about whether or not he or she does this to themselves every year, but it isn't. For many knitters who suffer from this variant, there is no choice.  Sure as a nightingale has to sing, a gift knitter must knit - and the opportunity to knit a gift is - to your knitter, a chance to make the love that they feel in their hearts tangible, visible and warm.  No matter how it looks (and we admit, it is difficult to see the love when a hat knitter is using filthy language to describe Aunt Alice's head size at 3am) gift knitting is a powerful and meaningful expression of human affection.  Each stitch contains the most precious thing a knitter can give - time and talent, and every person who receives said gift of time and talent should be nothing short of stunned with joy and gratitude.  Think about it.  Other people are going to spend 20 minutes at the mall picking out a present for you.  Your knitter loves you so much that their gift to you took hours and hours and hours of time that nobody else deserved.

I love this blog (go ahead and call me a dork, it's fine *smile).  And she is offering up 1 gift idea per day that all you Non-Knitters could give to a Knitter (like me).  Although it's only day 1 and I can't read her mind, I have a feeling I will like/love anything that she suggests.

So, this post serves a dual purpose.  First, it helps me express exactly why I've been feverishly knitting for at least 3 hours a night this past week (and will continue to do so up until Christmas).  And second, it serves as a way to (conspicuously) add a few items to my Christmas list. 

P.S.  I will start my "Christmas" knitting in June next year!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More mud + rain = a Christmas Tree!

Remember last week when we went to the Tough Mudder and there was mud, mud, and more mud??  Well, this weekend was not much different.  No, Ryan didn't race again this weekend, but we did find ourselves slopping through tons o' mud to get our annual Christmas Tree.

Ryan has been cutting down a live tree since he was a little lad.  This was a whole new experience for me when I met him because we always had a fake tree.  Don't get me wrong, I've always loved our fake tree.  There was something about getting the whole family together to form an assembly line to haul all the decorations and the tree down from the attic, but since I met Ryan (over 4 years ago), I've adopted the McGrath tradition of hunting and cutting our own prefect tree.  The nature of nature means that no tree is ever the same and each year we get something slightly different, but that is part of the fun of it.

This picture made me laugh soI just had to include it. 

Last year our tree was a little too small.  Ryan was adament that our tree was the perfect size, but once we got it home we both agreed that we could have gone taller and fatter, so that was our goal for this year. 

This year Chris and Brenna joined us.  After some discussion about whether or not they were going to get a tree, Chris won the battle and the also walked away with a beauitful tree for their house!

What a cute holiday couple!!  Love them....and Brenna's attempt at the "Lindsay pose".

That's our typical tree cutting picture.  I am 99.9% sure we've got one of these from each of the years we've gone hunting.  Now that I've got this great blog I will be able to reference back each year to our old pictures, so here goes nothing!! 

Somehow I missed getting a picture of Dan and Ellyn's tree.  They were the first ones to settle on a tree and start cutting.  While Ry and I were searching for our perfect (extra chubby) tree, Dan was hauling his tree back to the truck and paying.  I almost gave the "first tree" award to Chris and Brenna since they were technically the first ones to "choose" a tree, but they didn't end up cutting that one, so Dan and Ellyn get the First Tree award. 

Ryan and I were the second ones to cut.  While Ryan was helping Dan carry back his tree, I found an extra large tree that I was sure Ryan would veto.  But, after getting enough grief from me last year about the size of our tree, he pretty much let me pick whatever I wanted.  **SPOILER ALERT** It's perfect!!

Finally, Chris and Brenna settled on their perfect tree as well.  They have extra tall ceilings so they went for a taller tree, but since they are in an apartment, one the second floor, they went for a skinnier tree.

Check out those muddy knees!!  See, C&B have adopted our traditional Christmas Tree picture.  I hope they adopt our tradition as well, it's so much fun!!  And, I've got to say, the house smells great with a freshly cut tree(although, it isn't strong enough to cover up the smell of Ryan's farts!!!!).

Because video is my newest favorite thing to add to the blog, here is a quick action video of the boys cutting down one of the trees.

At the end of the day, we got three beautiful trees.  We were all pretty well soaked, and the boys were covered with mud, but it was a sucessful day overall.

Ain't she a beaut!?!?!  I love it.  It looks like it has a little bit of a lean in this picture, but it's perfect in person!  Less than 12 hours from the ground to our living room and I'm so happy with it!  Staley seems super excited to have the outside, inside so we will see how it goes.  This is her second Christmas with us, but I think she forgot.  Ha!! 

It's officially the holiday season!  How is your Christmas tree coming??  Did you have your decorations up before Thanksgiving??  Ry and I are definately "after Thanksgiving" folks.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mud + Tough Men + Cold Water = Tough Mudder 2011

The weekend before Thanksgiving (yes, I'm once again behind), Ryan raced one of his most extreme races yet.  It's called Tough Mudder and if you can't tell from the name, it involved a ton of mud!  What you can't infer from the name is the additional combination of cold and water.  But first, lets start back at the beginning.

About 2 months back this group of hot and sexy men decided that they would take on the challenge of this race.  So, quickly, from left to right, we've got Pat (Betsy's husband), Frank (Nick's younger brother who drove all the way from the UP for this race), Nick (a friend of Ryan's from high school, who gets the award for longest travel as he came all the way from AZ for the race).  Then, Ry with his typical picture pose, Nate (another friend for high school) and rounding off the team is Brian (yet another Marmion guy, and Lo's husband). 

It begs mention that the cheering squad was me, Lo, Betsy, and Jess (Frank's girlfriend).  I don't have a picture of all us ladies but I think Bets does and I will try to update the blog with additional pictures once I get them.

So, for those of you that didn't choose to click on my Tough Mudder link, here is a quick run down.  Imagine a 10 mile course where racers go through about 25 military style obstacles.  Racers can choose to run alone or with a team, but teams teams are definately the way to go.  Obstacles were anything from running through huge pits of mud, to jumping into ice (literally) and swimming, to crawling under barbed wire, to running through electrical wires, to scaling Berlin Walls.  Without a team, any one of these would be hard, but 25 would be nearly impossible. 

See how muddy they all are??  This is about 1/3 of the way through the race.  The temperature was about 45 degrees that day which individually wouldn't be so bad, but add in water, ice and mud and our boys were freezing by the end of the race.  The 10 miles of running didn't faze them, it was the cold and wet that really got to them all.  By the end we were sure we'd have 3 car fulls of hypothermic boys by the end of the race, but luckily everyone was fine, there were no injuries and everyone crossed the finish line.

The ladies spent the day (about 4 hours from race packet pickup to beer drinking at the finish line) trapsing around the park getting pictures and video of our men.  They had 3 suggested viewing areas and once we figured out the map we were able to see our boys quite a bit.  There was a decent amount of the race time that we missed though because the boys were routed through the woods, but we will be ready for next year.  We've already started planning our picture taking/racer supporting.

So, pictures speak louder than words right??  Well, I've put together a little video for you all, including some action shots of our boys during the race.  It's not perfect, and yes, the music ends while the video is still going, but it's what you are going to get today.  I hope to update the video with shots from Lo and Bets, but it's been a week since the race and I've got to keep the blog updated so here is what I've got right now.  If I update it, I will let you all know, but for now, enjoy!  I'll get better at the video's shortly!  Promise!!

Come on back in a few days and I hope to have the video updated!!

Happy Thanksgiving y'all (one day late!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adding a splash of color!

I've been planning another little art project like my hartfetti picture for quite awhile now.  And I am finally ready to show it you guys.

Can you tell what it is yet?  Do you love it?

Have you guys joined Pinterest yet?  It's a strange new website that allows you to "pin" pictures from the web to your board.  Using it lets you take all of those great ideas you find while searching the web and put them in one convenient spot so you can reference them later.  Anyways, I'm bringing up Pinterest because I just want to make it known that I didn't come up with this idea.  If you google, or Pinterest, melted crayon art, you'll find tons of these out there.  Personally, I used this one as inspiration. 

So, first, the final product, and then a tutorial.

I've got to say that I just LOVE how this thing turned out!

A quick tutorial for those of you that care:

First grab a box of crayons and a white canvas.  I got the biggest box of crayons I could find from Meijer and it cost me less than $4.  Then, the harder piece was the canvas.  Have any of you ever bought canvas?  They can be expensive!  So, I waited and waited until Michael's had them on sale 50% and I picked up this huge one for just under $20.  Its 16' x 40' and will fit perfectly above our bed. 

Probably the hardest part of this whole project was figuring out the order I wanted the crayons in.

I started by laying out all the crayons I was going to use and getting them in order.  I didn't have enough to make it from end to end so I did some measuring and figured out where to start so it would all line up straight.  Then using a hot glue gun I ran a small line of glue down the back side of each crayon and glued them down. 

Looks pretty right?  All lined up and perfect.  It's a organizers dream come true!

Then, once I had them all glued down I had Ryan dig through his trailer to find his heat gun.  It's just like a hair dryer, but super powerful. 

After about 2 seconds of heating, this started to happen.  And, I started to get excited!!

Ryan even snapped this terrible picture of me while working.  Don't mind my wet hair or my sweatpants.  It's Sunday!!  A lady can relax!!

After about 10 minutes, I had that.

And there's the finished product.  It adds just the touch of color that I was looking for above our bed.   And, for less than $25, you can't beat that.