When mowing the lawn becomes a neighborhood affair

Just before Brett and I left for France it rained (and rained and rained)…as you remember from this post, we had some issues with water in our lower level.  Then, when we were in France, the weather warmed up and everything started to grow…and grow and grow!  The grass in our yard that I returned to was almost a foot tall in places!  I think Inca actually liked romping through the grass that went up to her belly 🙂


Brett offered to mow it when he returned but by then the rain was supposed to start again and I just couldn’t leave our yard looking like it was so mow the yard I did  🙂  I mowed the back yard the first night until it was dark…leaving the tallest spot that the mower had trouble handling…in that battle, mower and Mallory vs. the yard, the yard won.  The next morning though, I attacked the front yard.  All was going fine until the mower died…just like that!  I stopped the engine to empty the bag full of grass and the mower refused to start back up again.  Our next door neighbor watched me fighting with the now dead mower as he was leaving for work and actually got out of his car to come over and help.  He even let me use his mower to finish up the yard!  (it was seriously supposed to start raining that afternoon and was going to continue for the next 4 days…)  So, with a new mower in hand I kept at it.

Well for those of you who have mowed foot tall grass, it takes quite a bit of gusto and the self propel feature doesn’t always like working in such conditions which leaves you with a heavy mower that you now have to push.  As I was fighting my way through mowing the front yard, our neighbor across the street (with a riding lawn mower) started mowing his yard.  After about 15 minutes he drove that mower across the street, waved me out of the yard despite my protests, and mowed the rest of our yard.  As he did this I was able to finish combating the millions of gumballs that had accumulated over the fall (yes I know, I didn’t deal with them in the fall so they were still in the yard!) and bag up everything to haul to the curb.


When the neighbor finished mowing he drove his mower back across the street, finished up his own yard, and went inside.  🙂  Such a wonderful act of kindness from neighbors on all sides of our house!  The yard would not have been mowed completely without them before the rain started.


I think some ‘thank you’ muffins are in order 🙂  Have you experienced acts of kindness from neighbors?  Do you have any fun or clever ways of thanking them?  🙂


the return of hobbies!

Brett and I LOVE hobbies! 🙂 We have quite a few of them… and often times don’t seem to be able to make time for anything of them. There are entire weeks in our academic lives where we get up, go to work, come home, cook dinner, work some more, and then go to bed…with some doggie loving happening whenever possible while at home 🙂 BUT this post isn’t about research or work or grad school…its about the stuff that we LOVE to do when we’re not doing all of that other stuff! (though many already probably know that Brett’s hobbies and his research are often heavily mixed, haha).

One thing that I love to do is bake. 🙂 I wouldn’t say that I love to cook…because while I do cook dinners and make lunches…sweet things are my absolute favorite and I seem to only find the motivation to spend over an hour in the kitchen if what I’m making is SWEET 🙂 This past weekend I made some of those shortbread, caramel, chocolate layered desserts that I have talked about before . I made them again and they didn’t take nearly as long this time and turned out buttery and wonderful 🙂 Here is a picture before the chocolate was poured over the caramel…


Brett is pretty big into photography… I owned a DSLR before we met but he has gotten me WAY more into this fun hobby and talked us both into purchasing better lenses about a year ago. Here are a few shots that I took after getting the fun new lens




Just as a side note…all of the pictures that I have previously posted to this main ‘blog’ portion of the website (all the ones besides the three above) have all been taken with my iPhone…crazy right?! 🙂

Lately, Brett has been experimenting with time-lapse photography and has been seeing if he can’t rig something together with supplies that we already have at home. This is him toying with something in the kitchen


The return of warmer weather has meant some awesome running in the neighborhood with the pups. We have found exercising to be a really fun way of spending time together…especially when we go through periods of time when we need to get some serious miles on those sneakers while training for races! When the wind dies down a little though, we really LOVE biking 🙂 It takes us about 15 minutes of biking to be deep into the corn fields for some really nice road riding. This is us at our ‘half way point’ for water, food, and a picture break during a 21 mile ride this past weekend.


Everyone once in a while we splurge on a weekend brunch. 🙂 Here, we’re waiting for our names to be called


Lately, some of our hobbies have taken a complete back burner. Over the winter, Brett and I got really into stained glass…but since school and research got super busy and then the weather got warmer we haven’t gotten any closer to finishing some of those projects. I’ll be sure to post some pictures though when we get back to them! Another thing I’ve really been wanting to try is candle making. My dad got me this awesome kit 2 Christmases ago and I still haven’t made them. The kit came with wax, jars, wicks, colors, and even scents. Brett’s interests go in and out depending on what his research requires…for a while over the holidays, we had a downstairs FULL of poster board cut outs for potential holiday yard displays. 🙂 Most of all though, I think we spend most of our time being goofy with one another. 🙂 Here is one of Brett’s signature faces


What kind of hobbies do you and your spouse/significant other/roommates like to do? Do these change when the weather gets warmer? 🙂

Pups in Spring

Here in Champaign, Winter has officially turned into Spring!  Brett had a deadline on Friday and I’ve been rushing around trying to get as much homework/midterms/research done before my qual studying recommences…which happened today.  We’ve had quite a busy few weeks though!  We were all in St. Louis last weekend for Easter.  The celebration was held at my dad’s house and was a great success!  Joanie (my best friend from grad school) and I even made the dressing!  🙂  (those pictures are to come)  Inca and Brett have been hard at work too, preparing for her summer with only me 🙂  (I have more of an anarchy approach to dog/people co-habitating apparently, haha).  The two of them have been really working hard on her nervousness around strange dogs (especially while on walks).  We’ve had a lot of luck with some great training resources and are ready to state again and again that rescuing dogs is SOOOOO rewarding!  Here are a few pictures of the pups enjoying the nice weather…

Playing Tug-O-War







Caya and me relaxing



Inca hoping that Brett will throw his orange instead of peel and eat it



Marathons and Wedding Pictures!

Hello all!

It has been a while since we’ve posted regularly but that is all changing…NOW!  🙂  From now on this is the place to come for pictures, tid-bits, and related info on our lives together!  🙂  I’m adding the wedding pictures today and they will be found under the ‘photo’ tab.

Brett and I have officially completed the Chicago Marathon 2012!  We finished (and ran haha) together, with a time of 5:14:28.  I took 11 minutes off of my marathon time from 2009 and Brett added 45 minutes to his time from 2010 (because he is so wonderful and ran with me this time…I happen to be MUCH slower haha!)  🙂  It was a lot of fun and we’re excited for the next race!

Stay tuned!  We have A LOT in the works at our house….my cousin just got married, our first Thanksgiving and Christmas as a married couple are coming up, and we have some new hobbies in the works!  🙂  Thank you for being part of our lives as we continue to be a part of yours 🙂


Love, Mallory