Sunday, December 5, 2010

Closing out 2010...

Merry Christmas!


We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and hope it is filled with family, love and laughter. we are heading to the east coast this year to be with family. we are really excited to see some real winter weather....SNOW!!! i hope there is enough snow for at least one snowman :)

We are so thankful for the many blessings we have had this year; my dad is nearly recovered from his accident in april; ben has passed his licsensure exam and is a registered landscape architect, he also received a promotion this year at work. ben and i were also able to visit sweden and be a part of a dear friend's wedding. we also got to travel to arizona and see the world's most beautiful natural wonder, the grand canyon. it was incredible! we have had many visitors to austin, family and friends and have enjoyed each visit immensely.

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year!!

Ben, Aileen & Wally



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

turkey come and gone...

Thanksgiving 2010 has flown by! My pinkies hauled me three hours north to Brock, TX to celebrate with mum’s family. The drive started out in Austin at around 74* and by the time we rolled in to the ranch it was a chilling 38*!!! Good thing I’m naturally insulated…mum had to walk around in her “puffy” the whole time (her NEW down’s soooo warm!)


(Audra looks cold doesn't she?...wally was unphased by the cold weather...yawn.)

Mum’s family from Kansas decided to celebrate the holiday with us (we get to see them twice in one year…yippee!) as well as our other cousins that live in Grandbury. My own cousin, Bryn, the French bulldog was even there!


It was a great gathering and a feast was had by all: two turkeys cooked on the grill, stuffing, sweet potato pie, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry salad (yum), apple salad, black olives (a must), green olives, dinner rolls….so glorious! (it should be stated that I did not get to eat ALL these wonderful foodies…I was stuck in my kennel so that I wouldn’t table surf the crowd with my giant all-smelling snout…I did get some turkey with a tiny bit of gravy after everyone ate though so that was yummy!)

We had a brief respite after supper as we were all over stuffed and the tryptophan was starting to kick in. a group of us went outside to catch the horses and feed and put blankets on them for the cold weather. My pinkie dad supervised me as I was quite worried that the giant 4-legged creatures would surely eat my momma!!! I had to be on a leash, which usually at the ranch I’m allowed to run free as long as my pinkies can see me, he also took some pics of the horse preparations.



my sister, flexing her muscles :)


i know this one is a bit dark, but i like it anyway. after 6 months my dad is walking without an aid and is doing great!


that's me and my pops, i'm not usually on the leash when i'm at the ranch, but i was REALLY concerned about those giant creatures being so near my mum. i'm her #1 body guard!

Finally mum put away the giant 4-legged monsters and came to play with me some more well, actually she spent most of the vacation in this position…


Picking out sticker burrs from my hairy legs. (what a pain!!! I was tempted to just shave him right there with the horse clippers!!!) there is a never-ending supply of stickers on the ranch.

We all went inside again to thaw and to eat dessert of course! Pies, pies, pies!!! Pumpkin, apple, chocolate pecan….oh my! Ginger apple cake, double chocolate brownies! We stuffed our faces again and it was delicious. After dessert it was time for a friendly game of dominoes while the football games were on. Speaking of football….HOW AWESOME WAS IT THAT THE AGGIES WON?!?!?! Too awesome, that’s the answer!!! We were all happy that the maroon and white pulled out a victory over the dreaded burnt orange team that shall not be named here. It was a great ending to a really good season.


my uncle kenny from kansas...dominated the dominos...until i decided to join in!!! :)


some football watchers...


the entire group! thank goodness for our mini-tripod and the timer on the camera!! it was really great to see everyone.

Mum and dad loaded me up sat. and we drove back home to Austin where we proceeded to veg out the rest of the weekend. Although, mum did convince dad to get out the Christmas decorations on Sunday. She also found time to study for her upcoming licensure exams…(bleh).


So to everyone out there, hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend with your loved ones. We had an excellent time, it’s always fun to see the family all together.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

the Sweden trip!!

that's right folks, i've finally sat down to write this puppy hold on to your boots and let me show you the lovely country of Sweden!

first a little back story business:
why did we go to Sweden (and abandon our favorite aire-dog?!)? well, my dear friend from college mentioned that when it came time for her to walk down the aisle with her swede it would definately be in his hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. our reaction was the same as anyone's would be...YAY!!! for a destination wedding and yay for sure for a european destination :) i mean, it doesn't get any better than that...unless someone gets married in that case ben and i should definately be invited to that too!!
ahem, fast forward to september 2010 and the wedding weekend approaching!
after a tortuous overseas flight complete with odd airport decoration (exhibit A)


yes...that IS a corn cob shaped like an airplane...i don't know either :)
and an emergency landing in maine, we made it to gothenburg!



Gothenburg, Sweden
a charming city on the west coast of Sweden, it is the second largest city in the country. it's history is a running list of battles for ownership of the important hub of trade. for more history visit this site. we were able to walk around the city a bit and take in some of the rained most of the time we were there (of course it was sunny the day we left...) so we didn't really get to know the city very well, but it was a nice mix of old and modern architecture and having the sea within steps is pretty awesome too.



some political propaganda...we were in the country the same weekend as their national elections which made the trip even more interesting...we got caught in a political rally!!!




some shots of one of the public gardens we toured...lovely!


Our Hosts
european destination wedding = some serious $$$ but i was given an awesome gift of a paid for plane ticket and then we were housed with a family that are friends of the groom.
this =awesome!
our hosts, Carina and Andreas were incredible and were so kind for letting us stay in their really cool house and cart our butts around gothenburg.

they introduced us to traditional Swedish foods and we had many late night discussions at the dining room table about American and Swedish politics. also in the house was a half-pint host, little Martin, the happiest little baby ever! Martin entertained us many times and was so well behaved.



Ben and i can't say enough how thankful we are to Carina and Andreas for letting us stay with them. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

The Night Before...
a little rehearsal dinner action at Tobias' parents house...excellent food and company!! thank you so much Lilimor and Matts for making us feel at home :)
(i know i'll have to edit their names...spellcheck!!)



me and Gennie, the no attention to my awful hair. bleh.


hmmm...ben REALLY enjoyed the "smoky" scotch...who has the drunk eye now?!?!

The Wedding
the boat....hello Erik....


my 3rd favorite part of the day...helping to decorate!!




the "gallery" where the ceremony took place.


Gennie's wedding was truly a handmade wedding...designed the invitations and made all the place cards, menus, etc. by hand...we arranged flowers the night before (not going to lie, i was voted most talented flower arranger :) i was in awe of the attention to detail she had for her wedding was so lovely!
oh, and see all those glasses at the place setting...yeah, those are ALL for ONE PERSON!!! my kind of people, those swedes :)




Gennie and Tobias tied the knot on a saturday evening on a hundred year old boat named St. Erik. at sunset the couple held hands in the gallery and said their vows before an intimate gathering of family and close friends. it was so beautiful!


the hand off...


Ben, always entertaining the ladies!

we sailed around some archipegilos off the coast and watched the sun set. dinner was the traditional Swedish fare of herring served in a variety of ways and the main course was a very tasty halibut and perfectly steamed and seasoned potatoes. Swedish tradition dictates that married couples do not sit at the same table as each other...this was a very good way of meeting other family and friends of the couple and we enjoyed this tradition immensely and think it should be adopted for all weddings and parties.

after the wedding and dinner on the ship, the after party started up at a local pub and good times were had by all. we had a great evening with new friends and i'm so glad and happy that Ben and i got to be a part of Tobias and Gennie's wedding day!!

Day Trip to Marstrand
to say that our trip to sweden was short is and was a micro-trip!! BUT, we did get to get out of town and sight see to the small island of Marstrand, known internationally for an annual yacht race in the summer. it has had an interesting history as a protective fort that then morphed into a large jail and then became a tourist/summer vacation location for locals and the Swedish royals. it was very picturesque and in the summer i'm sure it's booming with tourists.


me and Carina on the ferry to Marstrand...and little Martin in the pram.


on our way up the tower on the island.


laying around on the job...

you might ask what mr. wallace was up to on our 5 day journey...well, he was pining away for his mom while his uncle brian dutifully watched over him :) when we got back to austin (after a hellacious flight in which a small human kicked and screamed directly behind me for practically the ENTIRE flight from amsterdam to minneapolis...yeah awful) wally was so overcome with joy at seeing me, that he could not stop moving and did his "bone dance" for me not some stinking piece of rawhide!! it was so nice to be home and with our favorite aire-boy.

hope you all enjoy the pics...we had a great time in sweden and really we can't thank Gennie and Tobias enough for making it possible for us to be with them for their wedding celebration. and another HUGE thank you to Carina and Andreas and little Martin for allowing us to stay with them and also be our tour guides and chauffeur...thank you so much, we really enjoyed our visit!!!