We’ve Moved!

8 Aug

Well, our blog has moved! (We’re moving too, but not yet.) With the impending new addition to our family, we have decided to migrate over to a new blogging platform and start fresh. You can find our fresh musings 3 ways: click the photo below, click here or type the address in your browser: teamdrennen.blogspot.com. And 10 bonus points to anyone who guesses the significance of the header art on our new page! So update your bookmarks and visit often.

xo, L+T

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Introducing…

15 Jan

I have always wanted a treadmill. Well, not always. In my early teenage years, I wanted a punching bag. I think my parents gave it negative five seconds of consideration and said hell no. It was then that I set my eyes on a treadmill.

Fast forward some years and dreams really do come true! I would like you to meet the newest addition to our family: Sir Charles Barkley Drennen. Sir Charles joined our family this past Christmas, and we welcomed him with open arms! Well, that is until we got him home.

See, it’s a great thought. Long, harsh winters means no outdoor exercising for the majority of the year. What we didn’t realize, is that Sir Charles would be difficult. He has to be on carpet (we have old hardwood floors). He has to be plugged into an outlet that doesn’t also supply an appliance (hello, we live in a tiny apartment not unlike those 400 sq ft Ikea rooms. Every outlet serves a purpose). He’s large (repeat: tiny apartment). He has to be at room temperature (there goes the back porch). So, Sir Charles now is a central part of our home decor. Here is the sequence of events/dining room transition over a few days.

Step 1: Clear the dining area to make room.

Step 2: Take apart the carpet tiles. Some for the table, some for Sir Charles.

Step 3: Bring Sir Charles in from the cold back porch and set him up.

Step 4: Continued set-up.

Almost done!

All done!

It’s definitely an adjustment of decor, but Tom is convinced that when people come into our apartment for the first time, their first thought will be “wow, these people really prioritize fitness.” I happen to think they will think other things, but we’ve agreed to disagree on this one. For those who have not been to our apartment, where the photos are being taken from is next to the front door. So this is very close to what you’d see when you walk in. I’m not 100% convinced this is the final spot for him, but we don’t have many other options.

On a happy note, it is VERY loud for our downstairs neighbor. While I was using it yesterday, she texted me: “Everything OK up there? Sounds like someone is about to come through the ceiling.” This makes me happy because she is quite possibly the most horrible neighbor we’ve had. Her yappy dog barks all hours of the day and night (but mostly night), and her electronics have more bass than what should be allowed. She also can’t be bothered to shovel snow or pick up mail/packages/trash off our porch. We definitely do not like each other.

Oh, and I almost forgot. You’re probably wondering WHY his name is Sir Charles Barkley Drennen. I have chosen this name because the real life Charles Barkley is one of my favorite athletes. I don’t have a great reason beyond that, but I thoroughly enjoy watching him on Inside the NBA. If we ever met, I think we’d be friends. He’s also shed some lbs lately, thanks to Weight Watchers.

Holiday Wrap-up

2 Jan

Happy 2012, all! Hope your holidays were great and that the time off allowed for relaxation and quality time with loved ones. I know ours sure did!

We were fortunate enough this year to see all three of our families in the two weeks surrounding Christmas. I used to feel pretty negatively about splitting time and not getting to see everyone ON Christmas, but this year I had an “ah-ha” moment: I am lucky. Each third of our family is very different from the other two. Different personalities, different priorities, different traditions, different ways of spending free time, different pretty much everything. It’s OK that we holidays different. It’s actually a GREAT thing! In the car at one point during our Midwest Tour last week, Tom made the comment that our future children are very lucky in that they will have so many people to learn from.

Our holiday started the weekend before Christmas, when we celebrated Dad’s birthday & Christmas with some of the Montoya family up in St. Joe (Michelle & Michael, you were missed!). Then the night before we left town, we did our own little Christmas celebration. It’s become our tradition to celebrate together the night before we leave town. We listen to holiday music while cooking stuffed shells together, and then open gifts. It’s nothing too exciting, but it’s becoming our tradition and I LOVE it. The next day, we packed the car and headed to Ohio where we spent 5 days with the Drennen’s. We saw most of the extended fam and slept & ate a lot. It was perfection. While in C-Bus, we were able to spend one morning with our friends Nick & Katie, and their adorable son Jack. Katie is expecting baby #2 and she’s cuter than ever! Tom & Nick went to college together, and we recently traveled to New Orleans with them as our first annual “travel club” vacation.

After recharging our batteries in OH, we hit the road once again (in a snow storm) to head to the mitten for Christmas #4 and New Years! We spent almost 5 days with my Mom, Mark & Dan, and man… time flies! We had lots of laughs, stayed up late and ate lots of bagels every morning. We got to see my old friend Brad for dinner one night, and then had lunch with the Dubey family on their way out of town on Saturday. I FINALLY got to meet Mr. Connor, which made my day!! It’s always fun to see your friends as parents. We spent New Years Eve evening in, with great neighbors and Mark’s sister Mary. We played Punchbowl, watched bizarre pop stars perform in Times Square (still don’t know who those plastic looking kids were??), and counted down to 2012 with a very spray-tanned Dick Clark in the background. It was great!

Over the course of the few weeks, we took almost 500 photos. Yikes! Here are a few of our faves. (click on the photos to see them big!)

Cheers to a wonderful 2012, and I hope we get to spend lots of time making memories together!

Mama Mia!

18 Dec

Last weekend, we had our lovely friends Dan & Kelly over for dinner and a lax Sunday evening. We wanted some kind of comfort food, so I turned to the stack of recipes I’ve been meaning to make and pulled out the perfect one: Pasta Pie.

It turned out so cool.

Fast forward to this past weekend, and Dad and Kim were in town for Dad’s birthday/early Christmas. Kim found the recipe still hanging up in the kitchen, and asked about it. We raved about it (mostly the presentation) to the point where Dad & Kim said “let’s make it for dinner!”

So we did. Again.

It'sa pasta pie!

If you have some patience but really want a cool presentation, I highly recommend this! You can find the recipe here. My one suggestion is to doctor up the sauce just a tad. It’s not bad how it is, but it can be improved. For attempt #2, we used a combination of italian sausage & ground beef, which definitely added flavor!

Christmas Has Come!

1 Dec

…A little early.

The newest leading lady in Tom’s life arrived today:

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It’s quite practical for Tom now that he’s writing more, but I won’t even tell you the number of Apple products under this roof… Oy.

(Also, I finally downloaded the blogging app on my phone, so this is my first mobile post! Apologies if the formatting is off!)

Catching Up and Being Thankful

23 Nov

I’ve been quite the delinquent blogger this Fall… but I’m going to post one big catch all for all our recent activity and then get back on the bandwagon this holiday season! 2011 has been a long year, and for multiple reasons has been a bit of a test of our mental & emotional strength, and a great learning year for our marriage. I feel good about leaving this year in the dust, as we are very much looking forward to a great 2012.

I believe where I left off was just before a totally kick-ass wedding we had the privilege to attend. Kelly & Dan got married on an early Fall weekend in late September. In typical Drennen fashion, we left in what we thought was plenty of time… but it turns out we almost didn’t make it there AT ALL. The ceremony was about an hour away (with lots of traffic – distance was about 15 miles – yay Chicago!) and we were cutting it CLOSE because we didn’t account for as much traffic as we had. I started freaking out in the car, having visions of missing the entire wedding and having to sit in the car, or finding some side door to creep into while disrupting the entire mass, resulting in getting blacklisted from any Lawler event EVER. It was not good. Thankfully, we made it with about 2 minutes to spare and got a great aisle seat 😉

When Kelly came down the aisle, I was borderline blubbering. I don’t know what comes over me at weddings but I was a mess! She looked gorgeous, and I was beyond words happy for her. It was so awesome to see all of the small little details she worked so hard on come to life! I’m such a believer in creating a wedding day that is authentic to you as a couple, and Kelly did that better than anyone I know, including myself. Every single detail was done with purpose and it did not go unnoticed by the guests.

Another trip we made this year was out to Washington DC to visit my Dad, Kim & Michelle. We had GREAT weather, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring their city, seeing where they dwell (along with the President), shopping, eating, etc. We loved Old Town Alexandria (where they live) and started to think “ohh, we could live here…” until we got on Zillow and saw how insanely expensive it is. We technically could live there, but we wouldn’t be able to have the kind of space & lifestyle we want. Big sigh. It’s trips like these that make us step back and realize that life is so short and we really do miss being near our families.

Last weekend, we had Tom’s brothers & their girlfriends here for the weekend. It was great to spend some QT with them, and get to know the special ladies in their lives (and I’ve always wanted a sister…!) We got to play tour guide for the weekend, which was fun for us because we often forget what a great city we live in! We took them downtown to see the “bean” and to lots of yummy restaurants. This was another time when after they left, we talked about how much we really DO love our life, but it’d be nice to be a bit closer to everyone.

Today, we hit the road to the Mitten to see Mom & Mark for a night, and then the Detroit family tomorrow. Then back to the city to spend the weekend with Dan & Dad. We’re going to do lots of cooking (surprise, boys!) and make Grandma’s brisket, cheer on the Spartans  in their last regular season game (future Big Ten champs BABY!) and relax. I have NO desire to go shopping on Black Friday, which is a slight change for me. I want to spend every second with people who I love since our time together is always so short. Growing up is such an interesting thing!

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have safe travels, plenty of food on your table, and are surrounded by people you love!

Reason #367 I Married Tom

12 Oct

…because after a really crappy day at work, I get to come home to this:

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Fresh Apples… and why America is Fat

9 Oct

Yesterday, we decided to get out of the city for the day to go apple picking/pumpkin patching, and run some various errands. We found an orchard that offered both apples & pumpkins (and donuts, the most important thing) in Northwest Indiana, about an hour and a half away from us. It was so fun!! Even though it was 80 degrees (not complaining) and didn’t really feel like Fall, it was great. Here’s a couple pics from the day:

The main barn at the orchard

action shot (sorta)

such a fun day with my favorite person 🙂

After the orchard, we stopped by Sams’s club. My company provides all employees with a free membership to Sam’s Club, and we hadn’t been yet. I’ve been in a Costco one time several years ago, and Tom’s never been in a Club store. We knew that things would be large and come in bulk packs, but the reality of it was so far beyond what we ever expected! During the hour that we were there, I think the only two things either of us did was laugh while pointing at something, or say “oh my gosh this is ridiculous!” I guess it makes sense if you are feeding a small army of hungry teenage boys or own a restaurant, but shopping there for anything beyond household basics for DINKS like us is just wasteful. Case in point:

this can of tuna was honestly the size of my head, and it was hard to hold it was so heavy

Enough garlic salt for 37 lifetimes

They do have other interesting things there that we would consider purchasing (like TVs!) but it was a really fun/fascinating/eye opening experience shopping there. Tom had a blast, and is already looking forward to going back…

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deep in thought

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I looove it here!!

All in all, it was a happy little Saturday.

Who Needs McD’s Breakfast

2 Oct

…when you can come to my house?

Weekend breakfast isn’t usually a big to-do in our house, especially in the warmer months. It’s usually greek yogurt, some fruit or toast on the fly. But as the weather has turned a little cooler, there’s less pressure to get outside and soak up the sun… so our mornings have slowed down a little. We’ve been loving quiet mornings catching up on our shows from the past week, and chowing down on possibly the easiest morning meal since cereal & milk:

Breakfast sammies!

They are so delicious, and incredibly easy to make. All it takes is: 20 minutes, a cupcake pan, english muffins, eggs & cheese!

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350.
Step 2: Take a cupcake pan, and spray the interior of the number of muffins you want.
Step 3: Crack 1 egg into each sprayed cup. Do not add cheese yet!
Step 4: Optional: Sprinkle with pepper/salt/whatever you want. We use Black & Red spice by Penzeys, which adds a kick.
Step 5: When oven is heated, place pan  in oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Step 6: If you want to add cheese, remove pan at 15 minutes and sprinkle cheese in each cup. Return to oven for 3-5 more minutes. This would also be when to start the toaster for the english muffins 🙂 If you don’t want cheese, cook for 18-20 minutes until yolk is solid.
Step 7: Remove pan and let cool for 1-2 mins.
Step 8: Take a knife and circle the interior edge of each cup. They should lift right out!
Step 9: Place on toasted english muffin & enjoy (we put a little butter on the muffin first since they can get pretty crispy).

eggs in the pan, ready for the oven!

all done! they look much prettier before the cheese falls.

yummmmm!

Happy Fall!

We got a Dog!

25 Sep

Ok, we SORTA got a dog. Not quite as exciting, but still fun!

We are temporarily taking (excellent) care of Molly, who is Dad & Kim’s springer spaniel. She is 13 and 99% deaf, but she’s the sweetest thing in the world. All I want to do when we’re not home is be home with her!

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Naptime!

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Leaving our meeting at the Club 🙂