day twenty seven: moonin.

Alright so I'm struggling a little bit with the blog challenge. Get off my back. I've had a rough last few days getting over The Crud. Blogging whilst you have The Crud is not actually that much fun. How am I supposed to make fun of Chuck or make myself sound fabulous when all I'm doing is having clear liquids and wondering why the room keeps changing temperature (hot, then cold, then hot, then cold - make up your mind Katy Perry). Lord.

Anywhoo. I rested all day and I'm doing reasonably better.
Reasonably as in clear liquids are now Rocky Road ice cream (the marshmallows are little sugary antibiotics for the soul), but I'm still rocking my pajamas. I'm super fine with it. So is Jack. He loves a good "home sick." He's a sleep enabler.

I was racking my brain with what to write about since not a lot has gone on here since I've been down for the count. I could blog about all the dishes the have piled up, but I don't love doing dishes so I'd have to file that post under Lies I've Told You (and I just don't feel like it today). I could blog about my bed sores, but again, why.

Then, I was flipping through the pictures on my phone and I had my blog post epiphany. This happens on days when I blog. The lights shine down, angels sing, it's a beautiful moment. I know what I can tell you about.

It's not a lot to blog about.
I mean, it is A LOT size wise, but the post isn't huge.

The Newman at Lucy's birthday party. That's her basket. It sits on the kitchen table. We know that it's highly unsanitary. If it bothers you, don't come eat at Fe's. (She does move it for dinner - but oh that Newman yells about it something fierce.)

I took a beautiful video of Fe's cat Newman the other day. Again, Newman is a girl - I know, and she is often called Moonin since that's what Lucy thought her name was and we have done everything in our power to convince her it is not. We perpetuate that name like none other.

Newman has a bit of a weight problem.
I say a bit, like I say "Chuck has a bit of a height problem". She is large and in charge. Good news is that in a wind storm, it is highly unlikely that Newman will fall over. She's a sturdy one.

The set up is that Newman likes to roll whenever Shelley and I come over. It's interesting because with her weight: length ratio, you'd think rolling would be impossible. She makes it happen.

I took this video for Fe a few weeks ago - she was out of town so I stopped by to touch the Newman and send her a "we miss you video".

Moonin in all her glory:

I love The Newman.

day twenty three: i love being super appropriate.

Oh yeah Chuck and Susie.

I love this picture.
I love that it is super (in)appropriate.
I love that it was taken at Emy's wedding thus making this officially "Emy's wedding gets three posts on the blog even though it happened in October" week.
I love that this is not wedding or probably even blog appropriate, but let's push the boundaries every once in a while. I mean, who wouldn't want to find this little gem/present in their stack of wedding pictures?

Dear Emy and Kevin,
You are welcome.
Love, Chuck and Susie

{So I'm talking with the wedding photographer, who I've known for about ten years, and she mentions that she's always wanted to take a picture of a couple kissing in the photo booth and getting caught. I grabbed Chuck like he was on fire, threw him into the photo booth, and the whole thing went down before he could even process what had happened. It was amazing. Have I mentioned that I had a great time at Emy's wedding?}

day twenty two: a good soul checking test

I'm not exactly what you would call highly sensitive. In fact, along with my other numerous character flaws (they are bountiful), insensitivity ranks pretty high. Mostly because I live a pretty blunt life and in my bluntness, I can sometimes often offend or hurt feelings. Or so I've been told.

For example, I once told my co-worker Maggie that her outfit and hair combination of a high pony tail and green dress made her look like "I dream of Jeannie" working at Starbucks. This did not go over well even though it sounded fine in my head and has continued to not go over well for the last three years. In my defense, Maggie has since agreed with me that yes, she did look like that, but that no, I didn't need to tell her that at 7:45 in the morning. Also she has never worn that dress again. Despite my best efforts, I promise we are still friends, actually really good friends.

I think that's a pretty good example of my inability to understand when I'm going to come across as insensitive, even if that wasn't my intent.

I'm not overly sensitive, I'm not likely to get choked up easily. But every now and then something gets to me. Makes me remember that I can be sensitive and that yes, I have a soul. I call them "soul check tests". As in, this proves that I do have a soul and am capable of human emotion.

Here we go.
My Soul Check Test.

Lucy is aging rapidly, people. I'm reasonably sure she's almost sixteen and that pretty soon we will be sharing clothes. Her life is moving Ferris Bueller fast. I'm trying to slow down once in a while so I don't miss it.

For starters, she's obviously sleeping in a big girl bed now and that still seems weird to me. Is driving a car next?

This is her sleeping in our guest bed. No, seriously, play "Where's Lucy?" and find the tiny hand. This was during an epic 4 hour nap fest that eventually, Chuck and I had to wake her from (I know, don't wake a sleeping baby, but c'mon - we wanted to go to bed at some point that night and she could've slept for years.)

She's announced that she AND Selena Gomez are Justin Bieber's girlfriends.
She can sing the alphabet song and count to 20 and I kind of want to die.

Lately, she's been all about texting. "MA! I wanna send a text."
Obviously, Shelley is super supportive of this because it is awesome. Lu basically just pounds on the keyboard and looks adorable doing it. Then tells Shelley who to send it to.

I got a text the other night at dinner.

I read it. Then I read the dictation of Lucy's text that Shelley wrote so I'd know what it said. And then, I started crying. In the middle of dinner. With Chuck's extended family looking on.

Apparently, I can be sensitive and yes, I have a soul.
Who knew?

I threw my cell phone to cousin Janelle and scream whispered "Read this and cry too so I don't look like such a freak."

The text from Lucy is first. The explanation from Shelley is second.
(also, I call my sister "Toonis", hence her contact name in my phone. That is a whole other story.)

She's telling me she loves me and she wishes she could write more.
First of all, I'm crying re-reading it. Second of all, how old is she?

I'm sorry but if this doesn't tug on your heart, then I don't know what to do with you. This deserves at least a three second "aaah" because it is so ridiculously cute. If you feel nothing, then you've failed the soul check and probably don't have one. Good luck with that.

Day Twenty Two: I love Lucy so much and I wish I could write more about her.

day twenty one: a real love story

I seriously can't tell you how exciting it's been to see Emy and Kevin's wedding on a real web site. I get that I've put her pic on my blog before, but Louise's Thirty-Something Bride blog just rings a little more legit than the Mom and Pop operation we're running over here. Who am I kidding?

I thought Emy's answers were great.
I thought Louise's questions for her were perfect - exactly what Bride's need to know.

The post really told a nice story of Emy's wedding. The love of Emy and Kevin and the happiness of their day. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hate to interject here, I mean Emy and Kevin are great, but for me, the real love story the day of that wedding was between Emy and her bridesmaids. (I love you Kevin, I do).

I am completely unbiased in this opinion.

The thing about Emy's wedding that made it different from other weddings, for me, was the Bridesmaids. Again, totally unbiased but we were awesome. I say that with no hesitation. We were amazing.

We were amazing because we are all close friends.

Think about wedding parties - yours or ones you've been in. The Bridesmaids are always a collection of friends from different parts of the bride's life. A few girls from high school and college, one from work, the sister, the new sister-in-law, and the girl who's wedding the bride were in so she had to put her in hers. You know I am 100% accurate on my assessment of the bridal party. Winner, winner, chicken McNugget dinner.

But Emy's bridesmaids were different.
There were five of us: Andrea, Jessica, Dania, Libby and Me.

Andrea and I have known each other since early high school - we ran cross country against each other. Jessica and Dania were cheerleaders together in high school - I super love that. Libby is  Chuck and I my  eldest daughter; we are so proud of her. Jessica and I lived together in college and Libby lived with Jessica after college.

Obviously, we are all close to Emy, duh or we wouldn't have been her bridesmaids, but the point of that paragraph was to demonstrate how close we Bridesmaid all are to each other, even seperate of the Bride.

We are a package.

(You've seen this pic before. It's us - minus Libby - in 2003).

Emy's wedding, it was just us. That made it pretty magical. There was no odd man out or new girl or someone we'd heard about, but never really met. It was perfection to just be us.

So when we got back Emy's wedding pictures we sort of died a little because it told the story of "us" so well. I felt like the photographer captured the love story of us girls with stunning accuracy. Nothing had to be staged or faked - we really are laughing and we really are that close.

It's the twenty first day of the blog challenge and I've known about this post since Day One. I love these girls, I love their friendships, I love these pictures. I'm not sure if it's OK to make canvas prints of someone else's wedding pictures, but I am willing to find out.

I get that the love story of the bride and groom is the center of the wedding, but you can't deny the love story of these bridesmaids.

I'm not sure what's going on here, but Libby and I must this it's REALLY funny.

Jessica (on the left side) must have said something ridiculous. Look at that smirk then look at us. She's up to something.

I know Emy isn't in this one, but we love Kevin so much that he needed to be on this.

This is during our toast. Emy didn't have a maid of honor, so we wrote a speech together, seperated it into parts, and people kept telling Emy how much they enjoyed the "skit" her Bridesmaids did. I guess it was kind of a skit. Either way, we killed it.

And then Dania started crying during her part and we were all super supportive of her and her emotions.

I'm reasonably sure this is the seventh picture since 2006 of us dancing to Don't Stop Believin'. Also, no one has ever seen Jessica do the "Rock On" sign before so this picture begged a lot of questions.

The Winner: We found a giant bathtub in the bridal suite. Obviously, this picture had to happen.
Day Twenty One: Best friends are one of the best parts of life.
(Again, photography by Amy Walton. She's amazing.)

day twenty: my best friend's wedding.

Settle in people. Today is story day. I hope you are super ready for this.

Following Julie Andrew's advice, we will start at the very beginning.

A few years ago, when I first started the blog, I stumbled onto a site called Style Me Pretty. It's amazing, especially if you are planning a wedding. I wasn't at the time, but I feel like it's never too soon to start planning for my second marriage. Kidding, but not, but kidding,

Anyways, I commented on that site, a blogger saw it, and that's how we became blog friends - in the most reader's digest version of our friendship story that I can give you. We've emailed, we've stayed in touch on the blogs, and now I can say "oh I know someone who lives in Nashville."

Louise's blog is The Thirty-Something Bride. She used it to chronicle the planning of her wedding and post-wedding it's become a great site to help other brides in their planning. She also throws in her fabulous and hysterical commentary. She's a good read. She can be a little PG13 on her blog, so you've been warned - I still heart her tons.

One of her regular posts is called "Unfake Weddings" where she posts pictures and interviews from other brides on their real wedding - actual, attainable weddings not like the ones in Martha Stewart Wedding that just make you depressed because who would think of that/could afford it without selling a kidney or making a pact with the devil.

Ok. So that part of the story is done.

Next part - kind of like the second act except better.

BFF Emy loves The Thirty Something Blog. It's one of her favorites. Along with dreams of meeting Robert Pattinson and Paul Walker, she wanted to be an Unfake Wedding.

I figured I might have had an "in" with Louise. I knew her well enough in the blog world to know two things: 1. If I was ever mysteriously stranded in Nashville, she'd take me in. 2. She would let my best friend be an Unfake Weddings.

So. I sent her an email. I may have begged slightly. Apparently Emy and I have a sixth BFF sense because she sent an email to Louise literally a minute before I sent mine. She may have begged slightly as well. Who knew this was something we had in common.

Well. Our girl was an Unfake Wedding today.
She's famous now in my book and I'm hoping for an autograph soon.
Louise graciously put Emy on her blog. You can see the whole post here.

This is what I love about the blog world. You can meet someone in cyber space and three years later they put your friend on their blog.

The post on Louise's blog is all about Emy and Kevin and their wedding.
So, tomorrow, I will tell you the other love story of Emy's wedding: The Bridesmaids.

photos perfectly done by Amy Walton Photography.
(I can't recommend her enough!)

day seventeen: the secrets and the stories.

Yesterday's post was "secrets". I love secrets, I love games.
I think I like the stories behind the secrets more which is why I am way more excited to write these babies down than I ever was making yesterday's post.

I loved hearing the guesses and seeing what people must think of us. Actually, people know us pretty well which is pretty terrifying.

Ok I'm just gonna dive right in.

Chuck: I don't think there was any doubt that this was Chuck. Mostly, because it says "pretend" to have a panic attack and obviously I would actually have a panic attack in an elevator. The day that Chuck told me this "secret", I peed a little. The day he actually did it in front of my whilst trapped in an elevator with him, I almost passed out from hysterical laughing. THEN, I started to get motion sick from all his pacing, had an actual panic attack, and that sounds about right. He's not allowed to do it anymore in front of me.

Me: I hate to admit this, but I super love this show. Because of all the years of Chuck flying and all those pilot boys hanging around, I get this show. I have a basic understanding of the language, I get what they are doing, and that makes me feel pretty awesome. Now, I have no idea what the right rudder actually is, but I do know you usually need more of it and that Ariel probably shouldn't ever get her license because she's a menace to everything in the sky (birds included).

 Chuck: Oh yeah BABY! This is alllllll Mr. Allison. Once upon a time in 2006, Chuck was driving a 1987 Jetta because the love of his life (his Golf) had been totaled. He got up for work (he was a flight instructor) looked at me with a "yikes" expression on his face and said "I think the Jetta is really low on gas and I don't think I can make it out to the airport today. I'm taking your car." Wow. He stole my car and left me with the Jetta.

Good thing I didn't have a life and was completely house bound like the Mom from What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Oh wait, I did have a life and things to do and NEEDED A CAR. I called him and he said "yeah, I think it'll make it to the gas station." In his defense, it did. Right into the gas station where it ran out and had to be pushed to the pump. It was mortifying and I have never forgiven him.

BOTH: We are terrible people. Actually no we aren't - I have never once felt bad about this and here's why: In our defense, we have rules that we use when we pull this (and we pull this EVERYday). First of all, we only ever pull this move in a double exit lane situation (usually at an interchange - if you are from 'round here, think 1-90 west merging to 405.). We NEVER do this unless we are taking the exit. We are not that bad.

What happens during rush hour is that one exit lane will be backed up for MILES. Like all the way to the second star on the left, then straight on to morning. The other, wide open. So, we run up the one that is open and then cut into the stop and go side at the moment it ceases being gridlock and breaks apart. This always happens and usually does about 5 feet from the exit.

Now, we have strict rules, so don't hate us.

1. In your efforts to pull this, you cannot, ever, cause the wide open lane to slow down. If you have to slow, thus holding up cars in the fast lane, you have broken the rules and shouldn't be allowed to drive. That's just rude and you cannot be that person. See rule 3.

2. Likewise, you cannot cut off a car in the stop and go lane or force yourself in. You must wait for an opening when the line breaks apart, at which point you perfectly time your speed and slide right in. It's like poetry in motion and no one has to brake.

3. Come to terms with the fact that you may lose. Have a Plan B. If you cannot get over without breaking rule 1 or 2, you must accept your punishment. You have to take the exit you don't want and loop back around. You also have to sing the Mario dying sound effect from original Nintendo because you just lost.

This is my favorite game. It really is a game. Chuck and I have moderately heinous commutes and this is the bright spot for us. We love it. However, the rules are set in stone and in the three years I've been playing it, I have had to accept punishment and use Plan B only five times. What it boils down to is that we make sure our driving doesn't affect anyone else. If there's an opening and I didn't have to wait in line for 15 minutes, I'm going to take it. We are really good at this game. So, don't hate us. Please.

ME (but also Chuck): We do this 100% of the time, all day long. We sing songs to Jack. We sing about Jack to each other. We are cat people and we have a problem. Examples:

Snow Patrol; Chasing Cars: "If I lay here, if I just lay here, will Jack lie with me and just forget the world?"

Duran Duran; The Reflex: "The Jackson, is an only cat."

Christmas time (all the time); Good King Wenceslas: "Good King Stinky looked about on a feast of fluffs." - that is the most often sung and I would consider it his theme song.

Chuck: Chuck had a pre-paid cell phone for a long time and didn't get an actual cell plan and phone until 2006. We'd been married six months - it was time. His pre-paid cell phone was so rarely used that eventually they just gave away his number and for years he had nothing. Anyone who thought this was me - really? I'm from Bellevue. I've had a cell phone since 2002 because Shelley got hers taken away and Mom and Dad sent it to me. That doesn't make me cooler than Chuck, does it?

Me: Chuck LOVES that I do this. And by love, I mean HATE. Look, I don't keep anything of value in my car, ever. Ever. My stereo is stock - no ones stealing it. What I don't need is my window smashed in so that some thief can root around only to discover that all those wrappers weren't hiding a purse, just more wrappers.

Me: I can make a Thanksgiving turkey. I can make an insane curry. I make fudge. Rice-a-Roni? Impossible. I mess it up every time. I have no reason. I just can't do it.

Chuck: I love watching Teen Mom. Chuck loves screaming JENELLE like that horrible girl's Mom does. It's something we can share? Anyways, he yells it all.the.time. I'll holler upstairs "Chuck!" He'll holler back "JENELLE!". When his cousin calls - good Janelle - lord, he cannot handle it. Sends him into a JENELLE scream fest for hours.

Chuck: He campaigned for this honor in high school. He won. I'm not even certain he has buns in 501s, let alone the best. Meanwhile, I was voted Whale of a Whiner unanimously by my senior class (I know that for a fact. I counted the votes - I'm a whiner and a winner).

So there you go.
By Chuck and Susie.

I hope you love us even more now.

day sixteen: let's tell some secrets.

I procrastinated big time tonight in making my post.
I have had a life long struggle with procrastination syndrome (self diagnosed on WebMD). It's touch and go and impacts my everyday more than you'll ever know. It's a struggle.

It's not like I wasn't doing anything tonight. I was super busy destroying my kitchen whilst making the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls, which I will be taking with me tomorrow on our "ski" weekend (you know why I quotation marked the word ski; don't make me say it). Those rolls are not difficult, but they also aren't easy and mostly they are just time consuming and buttery. I need to bathe myself and the entire kitchen in Dawn to get all the butter out. They are going to be deeelicious.

Anyways, cinnamon rolling really cut into my blogging time.

I decided tonight to almost do a little bit of a "repost". I did a post like this a few years ago and I had a great time doing it. I don't know if anyone had a great time reading it, but meh. Not my problem.

I love secrets.

Not like deep, dark tell it only on Dr. Phil in front of all of America secrets, but the funny little things we all do in private or things that just really aren't too well known. Chuck and I did a post like this back in 2010, I think, and, like I said, we found it humorous. We decided it's been long enough so we'll through a few more secrets on the page.

Your job:
Identify whose secret it is. Mine or Chuck's.
You can post your guesses as a comment and tomorrow I'll post the answers and some sort of explanation for clarification, story time, and solids explanations so you don't hate us or think less of us (which has to already be pretty low).

I guess this post is two loves.
Day Sixteen: I love secrets and I love games.

Good luck.
May the odds be ever in your favor (Hunger Games win).

day fifteen: this one is actually about chuck's love.

Tonight's post is actually about something that Chuck loves.

Wow. Good intro, Suz. I just rephrased the title. Oh yeah. You probably feel really great about reading this post. I've just hooked you from the get go (so much sarcasm). My literary abilities this night are stunning. I wish myself and you the reader good luck getting through this post if the first line is any indication of writing to come.

Ok. Here goes. Best wishes. I have high hopes and by high, I mean low.

I'm making Chuck's favorite dinner right now. Really, makING. It is currently baking in the oven and Chuck has only gone to check on it twice in the 10 minutes he's been home. The pacing will begin shortly.

What I am making is super simple, which maybe counts for my LOVE post for the day. I LOVE that Chuck's favorite dinner is so easy to make (Match Game PM: HOW EASY IS IT?!) that I read two chapters of my latest young adult book whilst cooking it.

It's Baked Ziti.
I need to use the term Baked Ziti as loosely as possible. I can't in anyway believe that this is even close to what actually baked ziti is like. I think it's about as similar as Taco Bell is to authentic Mexican. I feel like that is a reasonably good analogy.

I say this having never actually had real bakd ziti. I know. Italian food is my favorite, it's already tough enough for me to chose a pasta dish when we go out, I can't add more options. Thus, this will serve as my only knowledge of baked ziti and I am fine just eating it at home. Having said that, I know this isn't close to authentic because I highly doubt authentic involves the use Mexican blend bagged cheese or Italian bread crumbs. These are just guesses.

I really don't care. It's an easy meal. It makes a ton. It's good left overs. It's a crowd pleaser. It fits into every category I look for with a recipe including I got it from My Mom. Win.

Chuck can't handle his love for this meal.
Neither can my sister for that matter but she isn't the subject here.
BUT, I have seen them combine forces like Captain Planet and decimate the entire 9X13 alone. It was impressive and terrifying all at the same time.

The Recipe:

Here's who needs to come to the party:
1 box of Rigatoni
1 can diced tomatoes (don't drain!)
2 peppers - you pick the colors you like best together.
8 ox blend of Mexican cheese
1/2 cup half and half
Italian bread crumbs

Chop the peppers so they are about the same size as the rigatoni. I do this mostly because then it is easy to pick them out when I'm eating because they are vegetables and my natural enemy. I believe more in Santa than I do in vegetables. I'm probably going to die of self imposed malnutrition.

In a big ol' bowl, mix the tomatoes and their juices, cheese and peppers. Sometimes I throw in a handful of Parmesan cheese if I'm feeling saucy. Apparently I wasn't tonight.

Once the noodles are done, mix it with the other stuff and pour into a greased 9X13 pan. Pour the 1/2 cup of half and half over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350. It's not over. Pull it out, top with the bread crumbs and bake for another 20 - 30 minutes without the foil. I say 20 - 30 because it all depends on how long Chuck can wait for this to finish baking.

And that is Baked Ziti, the completely non-Italian way.
Trust me, it's a hit. When have I ever lied to you? (don't answer that.)

Day Fifteen: Chuck LOVES this baked ziti.
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