Netflix (and PS4 and Books) and Chill

So I was doing OK with posting, but then I either forget to take a camera to document the exciting things we do – or we don’t do exciting things. So I figured I’d share some of our lazy favorites:

TV: I like TV. Cam likes TV. We’re a “Netflix and Chill” kind of family. Curling up on our sectional with the pup is definitely a favorite past-time at the Smith household. We’ve been watching The Voice together, because – to be honest – I have a minor (read: MAJOR) celeb crush on Blake Shelton. Its an easy show to put on while we cook and relax to. We’re recording lots of more exciting shows – but Cam is too nice and lets me dominate the television with reality shows. We were attempting to rewatch all of That 70s Show for a while, but the later seasons hit a bit of a lull. I finally made it to season 8, but I think Cam has tuned out of it.

On the TV Pending List:

  • Blindspot – our DVR is getting filled up with this show. I’ve heard good things.
  • Blacklist – Cam still has to catch up on last season, which hasn’t been free anywhere until recently and we’re cheap.
  • Minority Report – if anyone has tried this, please tell! We liked the Tom Cruise original, and figured this would be worth a shot, but yet again it’s chilling on our DVR.

Video Games: Cam has been binge-playing Destiny for a few solid months. And binge-watching other people play it on YouTube. And reading about it on Reddit. And waiting for expansions. Do I need to go on? Luckily he plays with my best friend’s husband, so I get some good girl company while the hubbies ignore us (e.g., my awesome new cookie jar from last girls’ night! See it on my Instagram!).

On the Video Games Pending List:

  • More Destiny. Duh.

Books: So I started to attempt the Silmarillion for the first time in a decade, and definitely made it further this time, but still needed a break. One of my friends lent me The Magicians by Lev Grossman, and I’m hooked – even though I’m just 40 pages in. If you’re looking for a grown up version of Harry Pottter/Narnia, 10/10 would recommend. After Tolkien, it was a bit of an adjustment because Grossman’s writing style is much more modern/colloquial, but none the less sophisticated.

On the Books Pending List (which, let’s be real, is infinite so here’s just a bite):

  • The Belgariad by David Eddings — purchased and in the nightstand-queue!
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman — after Neverwhere, I’m itching for another Neil Gaiman book. (FYI Dad, you must try!)
  • The Hollow Boy (Book 2 of Lockwood & Co.) by Jonathan Stroud — super obsessed with this YA horror series, which for those of you who know me well will find as a total surprise. I can’t sleep after COMMERCIALS for horror movies, yet – just for Stroud – I can handle this series.
  • Books 2 and 3 from the W.A.R.P Series by Eoin Colfer — perhaps not as immediately enthralling as Artemis Fowl, I still couldn’t put the first book down until I’d read the entire thing.
  • Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix — the Abhorsen series is for sure in my Top Five Books list, so when Barnes & Noble alerted me that a new Nix book was coming out, you know that went straight on this list. No questions asked.

We’ve made a few ventures out of the house to see friends, have dinner, walk with the Tuck monster. But sometimes it’s just nice to homebodies.

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August in Review

August has been a busy month – hence the blog silence for so long. So instead of a focused posted, here’s the highlights of the past month:

I got a job! Which is awesome. I’m now a Technical Editor for a IT Solutions company here in Houston. Around the first couple weeks of August, I was starting to get really stressed about finding something. I had applied to a couple jobs while I was in my paralegal class, then I graduated from that and had a wedding. So the job search took a back seat. When we got back from the honeymoon the job search was back in full swing, but wasn’t turning up any leads. It was hard to sit there and not hear a word after having put myself through class and really feeling prepared. But I got an interview for the Technical Editor position, really liked the people, and decided to go with that. And – lo and behold – my first week at my new job I got 4 or 5 calls for paralegal interviews. I turned them down, but it felt good at least knowing someone would have given me a chance. It was mostly an ego boost, but a much needed one. My new job, my coworkers, and the work environment are great though – and my paralegal skills are still coming in handy! So I’m a happy camper.

Lots of family visits. The month of August was filled with family! Cameron and I are blessed to have families that live nearby, or come to visit often. We kicked off the month with a visit from my sister. She stayed with us and – poor thing – had to sleep on a futon mat on the floor since we have no guest bedroom furniture. But we had a lovely time making cookies, craft shopping, etc. before she was back to college to be a freshman advisor! (So proud of my baby sister and her campus involvement!)

My dad was also in town on work for a week in late August. He later posted on FB about it being weird to visit his daughter “and her husband” for the first time. I have to admit, its still a bit weird to say for me too. I keep introducing myself with the wrong last name still. I’m assuming it will stick eventually! 23 years of the same name will do that to you, though. We had an awesome americana dinner at Beaver’s off of Washington St. (Beaver’s is our absolute favorite restaurant in town! Their mac ‘n’ cheese is to die for). My dad and I paid a visit to my grandma as well. I’m not sure her memory of me is great nowadays, but she seems happy. We showed her all the wedding pictures – she loved seeing daddy in them.

The last visit we made in August was to my aunt and uncle’s house. They’re the remaining stakeout of my family in Houston for now, and it’s so nice to have family in town! Cam and I always have a blast at their house too. Add in 5 adorable Cavalier King Charles puppies and you have the most awesome sunday ever. I could have eaten those little pups right up they were so cute and cuddly! Cam got in some quality football talk with my uncle and cousins, and a solid game of Settlers of Catan – apparently Cameron holds the Game Master title, with a Catan win and the reigning Risk championship from last Thanksgiving.

We found our church home. We’ve been living in the Heights for a while now, but we’ve finally found a church to attend on Saturdays. Grace UMC (ironic since my childhood church was Grace Fellowship UMC, no?) is a wonderful, small church in our neighborhood. From the very first service, the pastor has reached out to us personally to invite us to events. It’s been incredibly welcoming and we are so happy to have a church home again. Check out our selfie at the Dynamo game for Family and Faith night with the church on Instagram!

Not a very visual post – but that should come soon! This weekend we’re hitting up the Heights Epicurean Market (farmer’s market) hosted at Grace and Cameron’s folks are coming to visit! Now that I’m a little more settled into my job, hopefully I can make these posts a little more regular.

And that was our August!

Tuck is Growing Up

Many of you have met the adorable furry monster that is Tucker, our shelter dog. He’s a toot and a half, but he’s adorable and loveable. It’s hard to believe how much he’s grown in the four short months we’ve had him though! When we adopted Tuck from CAP, he was 3 months old and about 10 pounds. Today, he’s 7 months old and about 27 pounds! He’s finally growing in to his big puppy paws that we loved so much at the shelter.

Not that I haven’t posted enough photos of him on Facebook and Instagram, but I figured I would share a few more! He’s too cute not to.

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^^ Size comparison! Look how little he was on adoption day! Coincidence that Cam is wearing the same shirt – mostly because he only has like 5…^^

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^^ He’s still super cute now, but that little puppy face melts my heart. Then I remember that he’s destroyed every toy in this picture (including the bed…which became a toy) and it’s… still just as cute. I’m hopeless. ^^

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^^ Any one else recognize the “I just dare you to take that ball and throw it” look? He’s got a horrible case of “I want to play…but you can’t have it.” And when he’s done playing, he’s officially claimed the chaise end of the couch as his throne.^^

He can be a pest, and he sure demands to go outside a lot, but there is nothing better to coming home to an excited puppy every day. Those cute little stretches and belly-rub requests are the best.

First Family Photos

Throwing back to July 4th, we spent the afternoon at our friend Riz’s house for burgers and beers. It was a great time just relaxing with some friends – especially since it was the first weekend back from our honeymoon! We also brought the pup along with us. He had fun making new friends, and making sure he was always the center of attention. After the sun had dipped down enough to shade the driveway, we sat outside for a bit enjoying the almost-cool shade. While there, another friend of ours snapped a series of awesome/awkward family photos for us and they were too fun not to share:

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Might have taken a few tries, but we ended up with a pretty cute family portrait! Helps having an adorable little Tuck-Monster in the middle.

Honeymooners

After our whirlwind, fabulous wedding (pictures of which are to come!) Cam and I jetted off to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for our honeymoon. Surprisingly we had no problem making flights, and arrived with very little stress – something that hasn’t happened to us traveling in a long time. Usually we’re beset about all sides by delays, lost baggage, no air conditioning or any other myriad of issues.

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We spent the week at the Excellence Resort – Punta Cana on a terrific recommendation from Cameron’s aunt and uncle (thank you Michelle and Rob!). Since we are both rather big introverts and figured we’d be yearning for a book and some quiet after the wedding, we went the all-inclusive beach route. Best decision we made. At the resort, we left all phones, wallets, tablets, etc. locked away and enjoyed all-you-can-eat-and-drink in relatively disconnected bliss. We even left the camera locked up the whole week after taking a tour to grab the pictures – figured we’d live our honeymoon out from behind the lens.

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Additionally, we splurged a little on our room and opted for a swim-up suite with our own private cabana right on the pool! The upgrade also came with a designated beach area for “Excellence Club” members, so we never once had to look for seats or worry about reserving a spot. All part of our interact-with-minimal-people plan. The cabana was so comfortable, and with staff walking around the pool taking drink orders we only rarely had to get up.

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We did venture out one day for a Zip Lining excursion in the mountains – which was amazing! They ran that trip like a well oiled machine though. There was a guide at every post who would hook you on the line, one who caught you and helped you off, then you walked to the next station (often on the same tree platform) and repeated the whole thing. They managed to get probably about 60 of us through 12 zip lines in 2 hours – just nuts. Now, generally, I have a pretty terrible fear of heights (thanks to a little vertigo on my dad’s side), so one would assume zip lining would not be my thing. But you are so securely strapped onto those steel cables, it’s hard to imagine going anywhere but down the line. So in one trip we accomplished a work-out for the week and the must-have honeymoon adventure! Then it was back to the beach and books!

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Both Cam and I opted to re-read some personal favorites on the trip instead of venturing something new. While Cam tackled Game of Thrones (which I still haven’t managed to tackle), I revisited my favorite hobbitses with Fellowship and Two Towers. After being with Cam for six years, though, I’ve discovered I’m a pretty slow reader despite the fact I’m the English major in the relationship. Cam downed at least one, but probably two, installments of Game of Thrones – somewhere between 1600 and 2000 pages probably. I, on the other hand, left at a hefty 400, being only part way through Two Towers when we left. In the words of my always too nice husband, I absorb much more when I read than he does (a.k.a I’m a slowpoke).

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But the biggest winner of the honeymoon was the food! Specifically, the amazing Spanish tapas restaurant that totally threw me back to my study-abroad experience in Seville. We chowed on jamon croquettas, patatas bravas, pan con tomate, and manchego for a good portion of the week – especially since Flavor Market was one of the best restaurants at the resort. We tried to hit all the other restaurants at the resort while there, but only managed 7 of the 9. There was a particularly tasty italian dinner for our special Honeymoon Dinner with prosciutto, risotto, and lobster that sent Cam and I rolling back to our room.

All in all, not a bad way to start married life at all!