Thursday, May 28, 2015


Happy first birthday, blog! I have really enjoyed documenting our adventures here for the past year, but I get pretty sad when I think about everything that has happened since my first post last May. Sometimes I feel like a completely different person from the girl who wrote that. So, instead of reflecting on the last twelve months and feeling down, I'm focusing on the next twelve and hoping that my second "blogiversary" is much cheerier.

My celebratory gift to myself is a hardcover Shutterfly book containing all of my posts from 2014. I still like the idea of photo albums, and this blog has given me a way of keeping all the stories along with the pictures. I make Shutterfly photo books for all our vacations, so I'm excited to add another to the collection!

Here's to you, blog... One year older and 44 posts heavier than last year! Cheers!

Monday, May 25, 2015

fur and food

We timed our spring zoo visit perfectly this year: early enough in the season to catch the May Zoo Babies exhibits and late enough that the Bird Show had started its summer schedule.

We arrived at the zoo just in time to catch the Galápagos tortoise encounter. I was super excited to pet a tortoise! These tortoises were "tiny" babies at just 7 years old... the zoo won't even be able to test the gender until they are 15 years old!

cozy birdhouse | galapagos tortoise

cozy birdhouse | galapagos tortoise

We wandered around the zoo for several hours, and I had fun photographing all the animals. Most retreated into the shade for afternoon snoozes as the day got fairly toasty!

cozy birdhouse | orangutan

cozy birdhouse | przewalski's horse

cozy birdhouse | chinese alligator

The bird show was amazing, as usual. I just LOVE seeing all these interesting and exotic birds. The parrots are so talented with their mimicking and tricks and the birds of prey are both scary and impressive.

cozy birdhouse | cockatoo at the bird show

cozy birdhouse | hornbill at the bird show

cozy birdhouse | bald eagle at the bird show

cozy birdhouse | scarlet macaw

This goofy bird was demonstrating its obnoxiously loud call. This photo makes me laugh so much!

cozy birdhouse | noisy bird!

We finished the day out in the new African exhibit. This lion mama was snuggling with her three cubs while papa basked in the sun.

cozy birdhouse | lion family resting in the shade

cozy birdhouse | crowned crane

cozy birdhouse | at the zoo!

After the zoo, we drove downtown for the city's annual food festival to sample small plates from local restaurants and food trucks. Dan's favorite this year was a dac biet Vietnamese sandwich, and mine was the giant cream puff. I was thrilled to find cream puffs at the festival, since I usually only get one during Oktoberfest! I felt like a celebrity carrying this monstrosity around... people just stared as I walked past. I get lots of awed questions like, "What is THAT??" I highly recommend seeking out a fresh giant cream puff if you've never tried one!

cozy birdhouse | dan enjoying a vietnamese sandwich

cozy birdhouse | giant cream puff!

Friday, May 22, 2015

visits and visitors

I've been busy the last few weeks, but it seems like all of my time has been dedicated to two things: running and yard work. I started a half marathon training plan that will finish some time in the fall. I haven't signed up for a race yet, but I completed 6 miles this weekend, the furthest I've ever run! I bet my FitBit-focused family is jealous of all my extra steps.

I've also been enjoying our beautiful spring days by getting some work done in the yard. Our landscaping looks so pretty with new blooms, leafy shrubs, and fresh mulch. My planting skills came in useful a few weeks ago when I signed up with a group from work to help out with a service project downtown. We planted thousands of flowers in a bed near the baseball stadium. The flowers spell out the logo for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and should look great for the game in July!

cozy birdhouse | all-star flowers

cozy birdhouse | all-star flowers

It's not all running and chores though! We've had a few visits livening up our weekends. Laura came to stay a few weeks ago to cheer on her sister running in our city marathon called "The Flying Pig". On Saturday, we visited a local farmers market to get some fresh pasta for dinner. I love walking through the market and seeing all the interesting treats and meats for sale. I wonder if any of the marathon runners ate these "lucky pig feet" to prepare for the race! Sunday morning we went to multiple locations along the course to cheer on Laura's sister and various other friends who were running. We saw a few people running in costumes, including a shark, a bacon slice, and several pigs (of course).

cozy birdhouse | lucky pig feet!

Two weeks ago, I traveled for a girls day with my mom, sister, sister-in-law, aunt and cousins. We did lots of shopping (I found a couple dresses for the wedding we are attending in June) and had a tasty dinner. My dad and brothers had a boys day playing disc golf and texted a picture of their outing.

cozy birdhouse | frisbee golfing for boys weekend

We responded with a picture of us at the mall.

cozy birdhouse | shopping during girls weekend

Dan, who was enjoying a relaxing weekend alone at home, responded a few minutes later with this photo of him hanging out with Baby Hulk and the Giant Knit Bunny... We were all cracking up!

cozy birdhouse | dan with baby hulk and giant bunny

I drove back home for Mother's Day on Sunday. As much as I wanted to celebrate my own mom, I was pretty sad and anxious about it. We visited Nolan at the cemetery and left some pretty irises that had bloomed in our garden. Afterwards we drove to Kings Island to buy our season passes and distract ourselves with some roller coaster rides. Overall the actual day wasn't as bad as the anticipation of it.

cozy birdhouse | me and dan at kings island

We had more visitors this past weekend when Christopher and Emily came to stay for the first time! We spent hours on Saturday at IKEA looking at furniture for their new home. I always enjoy guiding people through IKEA for their first time... It's certainly an experience (plus I like giggling at the silly product names). For dinner we went to the Hofbräuhaus for delicious beer and German food, and then went home to try out Dan's birthday gift from Christopher and Emily, an expansion pack for our board game Carcassonne. Yay!

cozy birdhouse | hofbrauhaus!