Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Bellanator

For those of you who do not know Bella is the complete opposite of Samson. We never had a single issue with Samson. He has been great! Potty trained within a month, crate trained so fast I can not remember, staying out of his crate when we would leave by 4.5 months, you name it he was doing it already. So we thought when we got Bella it would be similar but NOT! She is her own little spit fire! But she makes it fun :] At least she does not touch what is not hers. We are very lucky about that. I think it is because she has so so so many toys and she has Samson to bite on whenever she wants.

So the other day we added a new craziness to the Bella list.

Let me start at the beginning with how it started.
So this used to be the worst thing she did.
She would pull out all her and Samson's toys about 6 times a day. Lately she has been putting some of the toys back up which is AMAZING! She will be ready for a new toy and I guess forgets to put it down so in order to get the new toy out of the bucket she drops it back in the bucket to get it. A step in the right direction.

Then she progressed to doing this
If you notice in behind the bent bars is a piece of carboard. This had to go between her crate and our quilt because she pulled our quilt into her crate and nawed a little whole on the side! Since we have started putting cardboard between the crate and quilt she eats the cardboard and you can see the little bite marks in this picture. But to the main point Bella bent those bars!! We thought that was bad and then we came home the other night to find this.
We did not pull out this black part, she pushed it out.... did this happen?!?!! Look at the bottom of her crate. Here are more pictures of the damage.

Somehow the bottom black thing got pushed out and her quilt got pushed into a ball on the side that she slept on until we came home
She was howling at Michael to get her out, she is a very talkative puppy
She was going crazy wanting to get out of the crate once we got home, but she did so much to the crate she was literally stuck inside. For those of you who have not been lucky enough to see Bella at the time she is let out of her crate, she is crazy! She is bouncing up and down like a monkey and once the door opens she bolts out like a little rocket (to check the food bowls haha). So back to the crate, Michael had to pull out the pliers to get it to open. And while the pliers were out she was trying to snatch them out of Michael's hands..
Once she was out, she of course ran and checked the food bowls, and then came running back to the bedroom to see the damage. Here is a picture of the bottom of the crate once the door was open but before we remangled the bars to look normal.
So we keep asking the same question, how did a 45pound 8 month old chocolate lab do this to her metal crate?

Today we came home after being out for about an hour and we walk into our bedroom to let miss Bella out and it happened again. The only thing we can think of is when we left today we were going to swim so we got dressed and put on bathing suits, sorta like going to the lake, so when we were leaving she was barking (normally this never happens). So we think that was the cause today but we have no idea why she did it the first time. Your guess is as good as ours.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alaskan Honeymoon

So today I thought I would share about our amazing honeymoon! My plan is to go through different parts of my wedding to share with everyone but I thought what better way to start than with the honeymoon!

We got married on Saturday August 28th and left for our honeymoon on September 9th. It worked out perfectly! We were able to come home, do the returns, set up our new things, get all the thank you cards in the mail, and pack for our 18 day honeymoon!

We were very lucky to have been given an amazing honeymoon by Michael's parents. We flew to Vancouver and spent a day and a half there and then boarded our ship for 14 days! 14 days later we ended in San Diego and spent some time with my Aunt and Uncle before flying back to Texas.
In Vancouver we spent most of our time walking around, eating great food, and just enjoying how beautiful it was!

The first day of the 14 was the day we boarded the ship. The second day was a sea day which we spent most the day looking at the ocean trying to sea whales. Not so much luck that day.

The third day we were in Ketchikan, Alaska. I messed up with the time change and changed my phone before we went to bed and then the phone changed itself as well so I woke us up an hour earlier than we had planned. I was too excited to go back to sleep so I opened the curtain to look at the ocean and the first thing I saw were 4 orcas out our window. Of course I started screaming for Michael to get out of bed and get to the window so he could see the first sighting of whales! AMAZING! We went Salmon fishing when we got into town and we caught a ton! We had 17 pounds of salmon flash frozen and mailed home for us. Here is a picture of one of the fish I caught!
I did not want to actually hold the fish so our guide helped me out!
Here is Michael with one of his MANY fish!
The fourth day we went to Icy Straight Point and walked the 2 mile walk into town and saw so many bald eagles! I had never seen one before this trip and they were everywhere! The town was very small that we walked to. It had one gas station which was also the grocery store and a tour center, it basically sums up the town. The ship at least quadrupled the total population of the town. Here is a picture of one of the bald eagles that was flying by on our walk. Notice how beautiful the scenery is!
The fifth day we were in Juneau. This was our favorite place! Michael and I decided we wanted to go on a more difficult hike to Mendenhall Glacier so we met up with a hiking guide and he let us know everything we thought we needed to know. He set us up with a taxi driver and he drove us to the opposite side of where the rest of the trails started and gave us his cell phone number so he could come back and pick us up when we were done. And we started! It was about 30* when we started so we were bundled up in many layers and we soon started pulling them off as the day started to warm up/we started to warm on hiking.
Me right as we were starting our hike
We were following the route, so we thought, and all the sudden we had already gone way past where the trail ended (we were told to get to the glacier we will go past where the trail ends and will have to go on our own to get there) and it felt as if we were getting farther away from the glacier which is not what we wanted. So after going 6 miles UP the mountain we had to turn back around and go to where we should have turned around 5 miles back. Once we got on the right path we were both exhausted but continued on. We finally were able to see the glacier and it was getting closer and closer, sadly it was still far away. Here is a picture of how close we got to the glacier. It was beautiful!
While others flew on planes to get to the glacier, we walked over 13 miles and made it there! It was a long trip and were afraid our cab driver would have forgotten about us, but he came and picked us up. Here is a picture from us waiting for the cab driver to come get us. The water was so so so freezing as you can tell by the icebergs in the water!
When we got back to town we could barely walk but wanted to see the town so we continued to walk  with dead legs and loved this beautiful place! We were both glad we didn't let our sore legs stop us from seeing the downtown part of Juneau.
The sixth day we were in Skagway and we went bike riding. Bad planning on our part as our legs were beat from our huge hike the day before but it was so beautiful! We biked through the city of Dyea which was a rival city of Skagway during the gold rush. Now this city is just a few pieces of old buildings with lots of history.
Me and Michael at a stop on our biking trip
Day seven was a sea day. Day eight we were sailing but we were visiting Hubbard Glacier. If you do not know what Hubbard Glacier is, it is an enormous glacier that is surprisingly expanding. It took about 3 hours to get to it from the time we started to see it. As we got closer we stood outside on the deck for about 2 hours to have a great place to see! It kept getting colder and colder as we got closer. We spent the time as we were approaching looking for bears on the land with our binoculars, but sadly we did not see any. This glacier was amazing! We saw AND heard it calving for over an hour. Calving means pieces of the glacier breaking off and entering the water. If you have never seen this, when this happens it makes a loud popping noise and it is crazy to watch it fall and then about 2 seconds later hear it hit the water. It put the concept of noise traveling into perspective. Here is a grouping of pictures of part of the glacier calving and entering the water.

The day ninth day we were in Sitka. We did not have any plans besides walk around and explore the city. We walked about a mile to a river in town so we could see the spawning salmon. I never knew this even happened until that day. The salmon swim upstream to the same place they were born to mate and then die! Here is a picture of the salmon hard at work swimming upstream.
The tenth day we were in Victoria and went WHALE WATCHING!! I had been waiting for this day the whole trip. We had already seen a ton of whales from the ship but I could not wait to be close to some. We walked through Victoria, which is beautiful, to get to the whale tour office. We wore these huge red suites that looked ridiculous but kept us really warm when we were going across the water on a speed boat. Here are just a few pictures of what we saw.
The huge red suites!
Amazing how close the orcas would get to the boat. This is a picture of another boat out there with us that was following this pod of 7 orcas. We have so many pictures of the orcas but this shows how close we were able to get to them. Beautiful!
Humpback Whale! We found this whale as soon as we got out there but in this picture you see the tale up high in the air which means it will be going down for up to 40 minutes. Towards the end of the trip we are almost positive we found the same whale and we got a bunch of great pictures of it!

The eleventh day was a sea day. The twelfth and thirteenth day were in San Fransisco. When we got to San Francisco we went under the golden gate bridge which was awesome! The boat looked as if it was going to hit the bottom of the bridge. Luckily it did not. Here is a picture of the where we were standing as we went under it.

Here is a picture of Alcatraz as we were sailing by it. We did not go to Alcatraz as all the trips were already booked by the time we started to look into it.

We had made plans to go segwaying around town. I grew up in northern California so I remembered a bunch but this was a great way to get all around town for Michael since he had never been to San Fransisco. It was a lot of fun. We used to think who would want to be on a segway but let me tell you it is a lot of fun!
This picture was taken after we raced down the pier (I won)
After segwaying, we spent the rest of the day wandering around the city, eating tons of yummy food and spending time with the seals! I forgot about how much I loved this part of the city. It was very neat, but also very loud. There were tons, lots of different colors and different sizes!
Look at the one by itself :[
On the second day in San Francisco we got to really explore Fisherman's Warf, the Ghirardelli factory's original area, and different piers. It was a lot of fun!
So as we were leaving San Fransisco during dinner the captain of the ship came on and excused himself for interrupting dinner but had to let us know we were sailing through a migration. I ran to the window (luckily our table was right at the window) and was stuck there for about 20 minutes. Hundreds of whales, dolphins, and porpoises were as far as my eye could see. It was breath taking and where was my camera?!?! In our room so there are no pictures of this amazing sight. Just memories.

So I thought I would post some more pictures and write some captions about them.
So I know this picture is small but I wanted to show everyone how HUGE our room was! When we booked the honeymoon we had picked a normal room with a window but I could not remember what floor. When we were putting the bag tags on I thought to myself and I even asked Michael why does it said 8 because we were not on the 8th floor and he said "it must be the grouping the bags must go on" I believed him and when it was time to go to our room I opened the door and was AMAZED! Him and his mother had changed our room to a family suite which was HUGE! It was perfect since we had so much stuff! It was a huge and great surprise. This panoramic does not even do it justice.
Beautiful crystal clear water in Ketchikan

Another panoramic of the beautiful scenery of Alaska

Bald Eagle just sitting on a tree, where else can you see this than in Alaska?!!

Another panoramic before we started our hike to Mendenhall Glacier

Beautiful waterfall we saw on our long hike. We saw so many and have some great pictures!

Picture of Mendenhall Glacier from our hike on a lookout spot


Saturday, July 23, 2011


Today Michael and I drove to Cypress to celebrate his mom's birthday. Their small group was going downtown to feed the homeless and we were so excited to take part in this! We did not know what this would entail, but that did not matter. I thought we would be going to a soup kitchen of somesort and serving food that was already prepared, but nope.

When we got to his parents house his mom was a cooking fool. She had 35 pounds of chicken and rice made up, cantaloupes on the counter, brownies and cookies in the oven, there was a feast being prepared. We then learned we would be setting up in parking lot behind a bar in downtown Houston to serve around 120 people.

Around 4ish the rest of the small group showed up at their house to get the rest of the food cut (5 HUGE watermelons), put together, and loaded in the cars. When we got downtown the parking lot was already lined with people and we were there about an hour before we were supposed to start serving. We were told people will show up extra early to make sure they are able to get served dinner because there is not always enough food for everyone. We were also told people come from different parts of the city in order to get a meal.

The first thing we did when we got there was hand out cold water bottles to everyone because the Texas heat is brutal. We got everything lined up on the tables and one of the men that was being served said a blessing over the food. It was very touching to hear this man bless the food to everyone there and know in his heart that God would forgive them for their sins. We had a gentleman come up to us as soon as we got there and tell us he did not want to just be given free food, he had wanted to work for it so he served with us. He was a very kind and intelligent man who was trying his best to get off the streets. He has an interview tomorrow morning that we will be praying it goes well for him.

It was a very nice surprise to see how nice, grateful, and polite the people were that we were helping out. Many had stories to tell, some were old, some were young, some were married, some were pregnant, but all were very appreciative.

We made enough food for 120 people and EVERYTHING was gone. It was nice that some people were able to come back for seconds and get completely full before leaving. This one meal may actually be the only meal they eat all day so it was nice to know they had a filling meal.

Michael's parents church, Cypress Bible Church, has signed up to feed this area every Saturday. The different small groups or classes or families that attend the church come and serve a yummy dinner for these people. Other groups and organizations take care of the rest of the nights.

I wish I had a website to share this information with you on how you could do this, but I do not think there is one. They only know about it through the church. But if you are interested I encourage you to ask about if your church does anything like this, and if not maybe how to start something up. I know his parents will do this again soon and we can not wait to be apart of it again.

Today was a day that made us feel blessed for what we do have, but even more about what we are able to do for others. Knowing that one meal to us means so much for the people we met today. Seeing all the smiles on their faces made today mean so much more. What a wonderful and blessed day spent with beautiful people!

"A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor." Proverbs 22:9

Thursday, July 21, 2011

B/CS Restaurant Bucket List

Michael and I really enjoy going out to eat and we really like going to new places. As I have said earlier Michael has lived in College Station for 5 years and me for 4 years, so we have tried MANY places! We know there may be a possibility of us leaving this wonderful place in about a year, so we sat down and thought of some restaurants we have not been to that we want to make sure we go before we leave.

This list is actually written on my iphone so that when and if we pass a restaurant we want to add, we don't have to say we have to remember to write that on the list, because we would always forget. Perfect idea by Michael!

Our list is as follows:
La Bodega
Martins Bar-B-Q
Los Molcajetes
Koppe Bridge
Lakeside Icehouse Grill
Coco Loco
Pho John
40 Tempura
Top Of The Hill 
Cafe Eccel
J Cody's Bar-B-Q
Good Time Charlie's
Hullabaloo's Diner
Carter's Burgers

The list is in no particular order, we just write the name of the restaurant down as we think of it. So as of now we have 15 more restaurants we want to make sure we try in the next year. I will make sure I update you when we go so you can figure out if you are ever in the area if you want to try one of the local places!

I thought I would share my experiences at the restaurants on the list that we have already gone to.
La Bodega -- we really like this place. I can not believe it has taken us so long to eat here! We actually went on my birthday and really liked enjoyed our dinner. The salsa was great as well! It had a mango flavor to it, but it was very subtle. Michael said it was his favorite salsa in the area. We went again about 2 weeks later with some friends and I hope they liked it as well! And if you live in the B/CS we have our own groupon website just for us! Click here to sign up! Tons of great local deals and just last week La Bodgea was on there, buy $7 and get $14. Sounds like a deal to me!
Los Molcajetes -- I do not know if I would have ever gone if first, Michael did not tricked me and second, our good friends Cole and Chelsea told us they love this place. It is in a little strip center in Bryan and it was our little piece of Mexico in the B/CS. We absolutely love the street tacos we get in Mexico and we now have them here!! And we could not be happier. Tacos al pastor is where it's at! You have to try this place if you live here!
Top Of The Hill -- THE BEST BURGERS ANYWHERE! Click here to read my earlier blog post to get all the details!

I will keep you updated as we try these local favorites!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Love Story

I thought I would tell everyone about how Michael and Mandy became "Michael and Mandy".

If you can even believe this, Michael and I met in middle school. He was the teacher aid in my 7th grade math class. We talked all the time and I really liked him, but Michael was in 8th grade and I guess the cool thing was not to date younger girls. So needless to say it did not start there.

Michael is actually the reason I swam in high school. He convinced me that I would love it and so the more I thought about it I decided I should do it. Luckily I did because one) I loved it and two) Michael swam as well.

My sophomore year I started liking him again and with lots of hanging out and having mutual friends it finally started. We started dating on April 23, 2005 and the rest is history. Here are a few pictures from the beginning of our relationship.
Dove hunting
Easter at Tom&Nancy's
Round Rock Dolphin Mid Summer Nights Scream
We were really lucky and were able to go on wonderful vacations together thanks to Michael's family. Thank you so much for all the wonderful experiences I have had with you guys! I am truly blessed to be part of this family! 
Here are a few pictures from some of the vacations I was able to go on with the Neisch family since 2006.
After Scuba Diving in Roatan
Roatan Sunset
HUGE fish I caught in Cozumel
Our first cruise!
Waiting for the ferry to get to St. John, we went to a beautiful beach!
So fast forward to January 31, 2010 and our high school sweetheart relationship became real. Michael had an entire day planned for us that I was not in the mood for. Let me start, it was 40 degrees, cloudy, and crazy windy but luckily no rain. I was in the mood for staying inside, wrapping up in a blanket and watching movies, but not Michael. He kept asking me over and over lets go out and do something, you can choose either we can go to Lake Bryan or Lick Creek Park your choice. I kept saying its cold don't you want to watch a movie and then he would ask me again. I finally gave up and picked Lick Creek Park because at least there we would be walking around so it would maybe be a little warmer. We bundled up with lots of layers and got Samson ready and we were off. The entire drive Michael would barley say anything to me which was not normal. We pulled up and I remember asking Michael who wants to take their phone and he said just leave them in the car. I thought that was weird but we both left our phones and were on our way for the 4 mile walk. The weird silence continued and it was frustrating to have a one way conversation but he finally said "can we sit down?" as we approached a bench a little more than halfway. I said "no" which he was not expecting, I so regret saying it now, but he said we had to, so we did. After just normal conversation it turned in to about us conversation and then I had a feeling but then I thought no way. Then he took my breath away when he got down on one knee. The only thing was we both had so many layers on it took him a few seconds to get the box out of his pocket. He continued with saying the sweetest things about us and how much he loves me and finally he asked! I couldn't wait to say "yes!!"!! After the ring was on my finger we got back up to continue on our walk down our favorite trail. I was in shock, awe, surprise, happiness, any happy emotion someone can have, I had. All I wanted to know was everything that was going on in Michael's head. He told me that earlier that week he had driven to Austin and had lunch with my Dad to ask for his permission and I had no idea he had even gone. Michael said he had looked at the weather for the past week and the next 10 days and there was rain in the forecast everyday except for that Saturday and he wanted to do it outside so today was the day. He had already called and made dinner reservations at our favorite local restaurant, Cafe Capri in downtown Bryan. Michael also said the reason he did not want any phones is because he wanted us to enjoy the 2 hours we were at the park to ourselves before telling anyone. So that means there are no pictures which is a good thing since I was in about 10 layers to keep warm.

Here is a picture of my ring that I took as soon as we got in the car and sent to a few close friends and family before I called.
The ring was designed by Michael. We had gone to a jeweler about 8 months prior just to talk and see what the process would be like. I never knew Michael had continued to go back and see Chuck (the jeweler). Michael and Chuck designed everything. Inside the band there are two rubies since we are both July birthdays. Those of you that do not know, I have really small hands so my band needed to be small enough so no engravings could be done inside the band, but the rubies make the ring so perfect! I love it! It is exactly what I had dreamed about! Michael did such a great job and knows me so well. No wonder I married this man, he knows me better than I know me! Back to the jeweler, Chuck, he is awesome and is in located in the B/CS. We used him for my wedding band and Michael's wedding band as well. If anyone wants his information let me know!

I will have to blog about all the details of planning our wedding another day, but we got engaged on January 31st and got married on August 28th. Just a mere 7 months, but it was plenty of time to plan our special day!
Here are a few pictures from our wedding!

I will blog later more about the wedding day, the 7 months leading up to it, and more fun details that made August 28, 2010 the best day of my life!