Holly’s Life

Triumphs and Tribulations of moi

Around the house on a random night in August

Filed under: Daily — August 6, 2010 @ 5:40 am

I was a little ansy last night. But it was the kind of bored-ansy where nothing really sounded fun to do. So, left to my own devices (Chris was in class) I shot random pics at home - enjoy! Some aren’t in 100% focus, but I avoid the flash when I can…

Wall-E and Eve (or is it Eva?)

New plant. The framed pic is from dad. When hefound out I was going veggie he lovingly gave me a framed picture of “A Cheeseburger in Paradise” :) On a recent sailing trip they visited the island where Jimmy Buffet wrote that song after eating a cheeseburger when he was trying to be vegetarian.

One of Chris’ new co-workers has a pet peacock and he brings in its molted feathers to give away.

Running mates

A ways to go yet in our change jug

My very first pair of Chucks


Chris’ books
Chris books

A favorite pillow

A favorite lamp

Need to practice


Spunky’s pm shot

New orchid


So You Think You Can Dance

Still lovin’ this floor

Cleaning is fun with a brush like this

One of dad’s beautiful pieces

Temptation (I resisted)

The mistress in the basement





Which I need to figure out where to put it (need the perfect antique/shabby chic display case :) ), because for now it sits like this

All-time favorite movie

Parties, parties, parties

Filed under: Daily — August 4, 2010 @ 7:28 pm

Had another whirlwind weekend of family and friend events down in KC! I nicely told Chris that he could probably stay home for the weekend since I’d be busy most of the time doing girlie stuff :) That worked out perfectly because his parents + Kalli and David stopped through our place Friday night on their way to MN.
Anyway - Friday was April’s bachelorette party! We ate at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner (yummy). Little did we know that Friday was “National Cheesecake Day” so all cheesecake was 1/2 off, which was awesome for price, but not awesome as far as a super-crowded restaurant. Some ladies found this out early and called ahead and sat at the restaurant for a while so we were able to get in close to the original time we planned. After dinner we headed back to A&A’s house and chatted for a couple hours before watching the classic Troop Beverly Hills. I only got one picture that night for some reason and it’s not a good one so I’m not posting it! heh

On Saturday a couple gals and I went out shopping to get all the supplies we needed for A&A’s couples shower that evening. We had a BBQ and everyone brought side dishes. It was hot as hell but still a great time!

Gotta get a picture of a cat in here! Fatty loving my purse (she also loved my shoes)

Jillian placing the perfect little cupcakes perfectly :)


Sarah and her daughter Greta

Sarah & Steph

The grub (and Mel with son Ben)

Cheers! (I notice that I wear this shirt a lot, should probably change it up a bit more hehe)

Alisha with one of her besties, Crystal (planned April’s bach party too!)

Carolyn and Kelly

Greta with some cute blonde boy I didn’t meet :) “We’re smiling REALLY big”

Jillian did a superb job planning a couple games. So besides those it was a bunch of catching up and eating!

We were all on Hanthorne House (sorry for the ladies we missed who had left) at Graceland so we had to get a Hanthorne pic!

And doing what we do best, grabbing boobs. April had plenty for us all to share.

After the shower I headed to Independence to be with family because Sunday was my niece Anna’s shower! Loved spending time witih the fam of course. Eli has always been a smarty-pants but his speech has really taken off in the last couple months since I’ve seen him! We had fun around the house - enjoyed splitting time between a fun three year old and a cuddly two month old! People came over for the sip ‘n’ see open house in the afternoon.

Steph getting practice

Eli already a pro at ipod touch games - he’s really good!

Bathing lesson for Steph!

The set-up




Holly, please take this off immediately

Da and her youngest (of 3 girls) Vivienne

That’d be about it! I’ll have another weekend like it in a few weeks with a wedding rehearsal, wedding, and then Eli’s 3rd birthday party! By then it will almost be September. I am SO ready for September/October and beyond to get here to cool off a bit. I’m a little run down and sick, but we’ve managed to go for a couple jogs this week. The plan is to get started on a 10K training schedule….eek!

4th and Family

Filed under: Daily — July 10, 2010 @ 7:01 am

I was trying to think back how many years we’ve been going down to Penny and Tom’s in KS for the 4th. 6? I think that’s right. Anyway, it was a great time just like this time, this time, this time, this time, and in 2009 too :) Not sure why there’s not an entry for that one.

The Hardenbrooks came down this year again as well. Not a whole lot to say other than the usual BBQ, games, fireworks, puppies, kittens, conversations, etc. were great!

Cute little miss Danica in Penny’s work boots

Working on making malts (yes, in a mixer)

Dad, Dani, and Kalli

Hardenbrook clan

Storm rolling in. Like a lot of other places, we were rained out (in) some of the weekend

Looks like we weren’t much of shutterbugs this weekend!

So we’re back to work and working out again which makes me VERY sore, but that’s exactly what I wanted. Been looking up more new-to-me veggie meals and planning a trip to the store soon. Chris has been cooking up more ideas for LEGO stuff and has the next couple weeks off of class which means he just might finally tackle the Millenium Falcon. It’s a good thing we have a LEGO room in the basement where we can keep the giant mother once it’s done. Considered the bedroom, though, since an alternate spelling for Millenium Falcon is R-O-M-A-N-T-I-C, but I still think it’ll be relegated to the basement.

Play Well

Filed under: Daily — June 26, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

As I splattered all over Facebook already, we went to Chicago last week Thurs-Sun for Brickworld 2010 (a Lego convention). Ever since Christmas Chris has been on a Lego frenzy, buying, building, reading, oggling over others’ collections and builds online, etc. which led him to Brickworld. He told me a couple months ago that he really wanted us to go so he signed us up!

We were actually outside of Chicago (anywhere from a half hour to an hour and a half with traffic) in Wheeling

When we showed up we were immediately slapped in the face with the nerdery, but that’s a good thing, ya gotta love fanatics (though I’m not so sure I’d go so far as to wear these like I saw some ladies wearing)!

We’re here!
signed in

We spent Thursday and Friday admiring the LEGO displays (four ballroom’s worth) and attending classes :) I had the bright idea of going home and trying to build a model of Winter Park, CO since that is a very special place for us. Of course Chris has jumped all over it drawing models and practicing building techniques since we’ve been home. I’m glad one of us is motivated so I can be free to read, pet cats, and watch tv.
Chris has always been a shutterbug, but get him around LEGO models and he becomes almost OCD about picture-taking. He took about 1,400 pics overall….I’m not kidding. The builds were either done by one person (who has to be rich to afford all those LEGO pieces) or by LUGs (Lego User Group) from many different cities. Des Moines doesn’t have one, someone in our house is going to start one (hint, it’s not Spunky).

Just a few of my favorites:


Neuschwanstein castle (one guy did this)
N castle

Roller coaster
roller coaster

A city done in micro-scale (the scale we’d probably use for Winter Park)


A Harry Potter display that made me feel like I have the imagination and artistry of a slug
Harry Potter

LEGO mosiacs - who knew!? I love these!

Indy 500 track

On Saturday we snuck away to go to downtown Chicago to see my friend Crailin and be a tourist. We managed to see Crailin, but failed at being tourists.


We went out to lunch, saw her very cute apartment (Blagojevich is a neighbor!) and went off to see Shedd Aquarium. Very few things frustrate me like traffic (and heat and being hungry and stupid people and….). Once we got to Shedd there was no parking cheaper than $46 (an event nearby drove up parking $) and they closed in an hour so we gave up. We drove around some more, both of us cranky, and ended up in the ghetto, which Chris thought was a perfect place to get out and buy some water :-/
Our weary souls knew only one place could make it better:

We got to the front door and read a sign saying they had been out of power since the previous day. I had visions of the Griswolds at Wally World and I was ready to pull a Chevy Chase. BUT they had generators so that a) some of the lights were on and b) the registers worked, so, crisis averted.
Finished up the day with a nice dinner and relaxing in the pool/hot tub.

On Sunday we squeezed in one last LEGO thing by going to the Discovery Center at a mall. We just might have been the only adults there without kids….just maybe

Ba-rick Obama

Went on a cute little ride an had this picture taken

and this was my reaction to Chris’ face

ride pic

Wonderful trip, we’re glad to be AFOLs (adult fan of LEGO).

The only other thing worth noting besides daily life is that my co-workers and I worked on Pioneer’s Habitat house on Friday. We did a bit of insulation but spent most of our time putting on shingles up on the roof.
With Mary, another tech writer in our group

The whole gang

Long overdue - books!

Filed under: Daily — June 14, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

An overdue post that is, not overdue at the library. If I had a fiscally-minded bone in my body I would use the library, but I guess I prefer to spend $15-30 per book.

So I’m finally back (after a 9 month hiatus) to trying to finish this:

which I started because I happened to pick up another of his books a while ago and loved it:

but Bridge of Sighs is not nearly as entertaining as Empire Falls. I’m about halfway through its 600 pages but manage to only read a few at a time before falling asleep.

So I picked up one that was so worth judging by its cover:

which I was expecting to be much more funny and light-hearted than it really is. If you want to let yourself get sucked into a ridiculous world where Abe really was a vampire hunter, this book’s for you. A little hard to read some of the gore before bedtime.
Yet I still haven’t finished that one as my book ADD took me to:


The 28-year long fuse of wanting to be a vegetarian finally went off in me so I wanted to start researching a new lifestyle of eating. It was a quick and easy read and cracked me up! Much like the title the authors are straight and to the point and say things like “Don’t eat that shit if you don’t want to be a fat-ass cow, asshole.” In my world, the more swear words, the better. I learned a lot and was still feeling the veg-based book vibe so I moved onto:


and LOVED it. A lot of the same info as in Skinny Bitch but Alicia is much more gentle in her approach and recommends different levels - “flirting” with vegetarianism, vegan, and superhero (basically nothing but fruits, veggies, whole grains, and nuts). I like to think of myself as a vegetarian now, though I guess I’m actually a pescatarian as I’m still eating fish about once a week. But as far as beef, pork, chicken (or I guess anything with 2 or 4 legs) I’ve gone without for about three months now. I’m loving it. It’s hard, but great. I’ve never eaten so many veggies in my life; I’ve spent more hours in the produce section over the last three months than probably the last two years combined. I found myself squeezing eggplant to pick the right one and realized I had no clue what the hell an eggplant should feel like. Anyway, I didn’t intend for this to be a veg. post.

So, still on the food book high, I moved onto:


which is about as entertaining as a calculus book. I’d like to think I’ll make myself keep reading it, but it’s dry, dry, dry. I’m also not crazy about the format of “Supermarkets are set up like this to trick us stupid people into buying things we don’t need, you stupid sheep!” and “If you don’t buy organic you are killing yourself and every living thing on the planet!!” I’m not a huge doom and gloom lover. Again, I can only read a few pages before falling asleep. Though this book did get a lot of praise……I suppose it’s worth another shot.

So while trying to avoid

I happened to pick up a copy of (credit to April for letting me borrow all the food books and the book below):

I’m kind of funny about books, if I know that there’s mass hysteria over it, I try to avoid it (Ok Ms. Rowling let’s see why there’s all this hype over a Sorcerer’s Sto…..hey, this is really good…!!). I don’t read enough to be a literature snob, so I’m not quite sure why I like to act like one sometimes . So I had avoided this book for a while. But, there it was, poking out of a bin in my friend’s guest room, so I started in. Of course, I LOVED it. She is funny, smart, insightful, and a helluva writer. I read it in no time. A word of warning though - taking a two week vacation AND reading this book does not make it the slightest bit easier to go back to a desk job. I’m lucky I like my job otherwise a vacation and a book about searching your soul and the world might immediately put me in the nearest ashram (which I’d still love to do someday).
I really want to get all the rest of her books now, but I already bought two other Richard Russo books when I fell in love with Empire Falls *sigh* I have this thing where I won’t let myself buy any other books until I’ve read the other ones I have first. So, I’m sorry Elizabeth, I have to keep myself from your wit and grace a little while longer and try to work things out with Richard and his hit or miss books first.

In other news it’s 12:30am and I’m not sleepy. Maybe it’s time to read a little more of

SCREW YOU Facebook!

Filed under: Daily — June 3, 2010 @ 9:19 am

Ok, really, I love facebook as much as the next girl, but in order to remove all blame from myself I needed to accuse facebook for overtaking my “need” to blog. BUT if the birth of my niece, a friend turning 30, a girls’ trip to FL, and a (small) home improvement in the same two weeks isn’t enough reason to blog, well, you know how that sentence is finished.

One of my best good friends, April, turned 30 and had a totally tubular 80s-themed roller skating party - woo! I’m always amazed by people who put a lot of thought into parties, such as buying snacks that were popular when we were kids and the like.

Some pics:
I still say that April and Alisha have one of the cutest houses I’ve ever seen. Ape is missing her calling as an interior decorator. Alisha got her this uber cute magazine ladder for her bday.

Party lights for the “Kansas lanai” :)

I was trying to channel Madonna (though I don’t think she ever really rocked the side ponytail), Alisha is rad rocker (or something), and April is Punky Brewster. Btw Chris was there this weekend but he played party photographer so he’s not in the pics - thanks babe!

You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around


I spent the rest of the week (through Thursday) at Amy & Eric’s house to anxiously await the arrival of Anna and honestly, the timing couldn’t have been better! I was afraid Anna wouldn’t come until Wednesday and I wouldn’t have much time with her before leaving town, but she came Monday night/Tuesday morning - perfect! I got to Independence, Amy and I got pedicures (so now she can be one of those ladies that says “I had a pedicure and went into labor!”), ate dinner with mom, and then she started contracting!

Right before they went to the hospital

Mom and I were on Eli-duty and watched him for the night while Amy & Eric were at the hospital. We went the next morning (born at 12:26am, 5/25, 8 lbs 8 oz, 21″) for a visit.

Eli about ready to meet his new sister, wearing his big bro shirt

Heeeeere’s Anna!



Our cousin Emily and her girls Mallory and Chloe came for a visit. Em and I were able to have lunch and catch up, it had been way too long!


The next few days were great! Amy and Anna stayed in the hospital until Thursday morning so our days were spent having fun with Eli and spending time visiting at the hospital.

Thursday evening A & A came to get me and we were on the road to St. Louis! We stayed with my friend Mark (at his waaaaay cool loft) for the night and got on the road early on Friday to drive the, 18, 20? 21? hours to Florida. The road trip was great, we got road delirium and thought everything was hysterical until it was late and we all just wanted to be there and then nothing was funny. We didn’t get in to Naples (at our friend Elizabeth’s dad’s house) until around 3:30am and just wanted to sleep. They brought a giant blow up bed, laid in it, and found out it had a hole. NOT what they wanted after driving for 20ish hours and just wanting to sleep. Of course, I found it hilarious. Alisha stayed on it and ended up being a bed taco.
We got up the next day to head out their back door to the canal and boated out to a beach……ahhhhh what a life.

Had to be a tourist and get a pic of a cute little gecko


Tracy and Alisha ready to head out, which is obvious by the alcohol in hand

So, funny story. We were worried about the oil spill (not funny) reaching Naples. Of course it’s horrible that it happened at all, but there was an aspect of being selfish and thinking “stay away so we can enjoy the beach and gulf.” We were on our way out to the beach and we saw this rig. We thought it was pretty exciting thinking they were testing the water for oil levels and doing what they could to put up some sort of oil barrier. Nope, they were just dredging sand from the bottom so they could add sand to Phil Donahue’s property so he could have a larger beach - oh, Naples, gotta love it.

We anchored out on the water and waded in so I didn’t take my camera to the beach b/c I was scared of water splashing up on it on the wade in.
SO! Fast forward 4 or 5 hours and we met Sarah and Jillian (flew in from KC) and checked into our condo and bellied up to the bar for dinner and drinks
Sarah, Jillian, Alisha

Spent the next day at the beach - same story, didn’t want to wade in with camera. No need to really explain as we’ve all probably been on beaches before - it’s heaven! Lay out, get some sun, switch to the shade, float in the water, eat, drink, repeat.
The second night we ate at The Dock.
Elizabeth, A&A, Sarah, Jillian


We were all in the condo for a couple nights and then Sarah and Jillian checked into a Waldorf Astoria as they had a free weekend to use there.
I have no tourist-shame and will take pictures of a hotel’s beautiful lobby


Complimentary lemonade and popcorn

We had a spa day at the hotel and it was incredible as spa treatments always are! I got the “sun kissed” body wrap even though I was more like “sun slapped”
Spa entrance

AND then another day at the beach! Sans boat this time, we took a tram to a beach from the hotel

Good advice




After several hours at the beach we went to the hotel’s pool, you know, different water, different scenery

So every night we had a great dinner out, we fit in Sex and the City 2 one afternoon when it rained, and we spent the last day shopping before three of us flew home.
April’s new hat ;)

Meanwhile back the the ranch, er, house, a guy who’s done some work on Sarah and Steph’s house came and put in our new front door + storm door.
Since we live in a townhouse we had to get a plain, 6-panel door to match the other units’ doors.

Storm door
storm door


Came home and added my touch


We’ll have to eventually paint it the bluish-greenish color to match the others, but I just might wait until they give us a gentle reminder to do so :)

SO a great 12 days away! Lots going on, lots of reasons to celebrate. It’s great to be home with the hubby and kitties now!

Published X2

Filed under: Daily — March 20, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

I’m published again!! But the only bummer about this one is there isn’t a credit in there. What’s strange is there’s NO credits. No author, no editors, no proofreaders, etc. Oh well, it was still fun to get a little excited that another book I proofread “made it to the shelf.”

Filed under: Daily — March 9, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

I still have a blog. Huh, whaddya know

Cute for the day

Filed under: Daily — February 4, 2010 @ 9:03 am


Holidays 2009/2010

Filed under: Daily — January 18, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

Belated holiday post!

To beat Super-duper Winter storm 2009 that was coming in on Christmas Eve, we left for KS a couple days earlier than planned. Originally we were going to be gone for about three days, but since leaving earlier made our trip longer (six days) we decided to take the kitties with us!
The car ride was interesting! Spunky did meow a lot but he didn’t seem as freaked as we gave him Rescue Remedy drops and those mellowed him out some. Viv was fine, liked to explore.

Her favorite spot was the dash though we didn’t let her get up there much

Getting coffee before getting on the road, Viv chilling and being curious

This says it all, how the whole 4 hours went!

Kalli and I boiling apple cider with mulling spices

Chris logged in to work the first couple days we were there so I did stuff with the kids, ran errands with Tom and the kids, etc.
Mom and Dad H came in on Christmas Eve and Kalli promptly had Dad H dressed as Santa

Viv was fine exploring the house, but Punks was a little more upset, so Chris was smarty-pants and made a cat cave out of a plastic tub and blankets. Punks was very content and cozy in there for most of the stay!

The Christmas spread

On Christmas morning Mom H made homemade cinnamon rolls, mmmmmm!


One more time, mmmm :)

Cute one of Tom and the kids

One of Chris’ gifts - a watch

Kalli is a huge fan of all things pink so Chris and I got her her very own pink Christmas tree! Along with A LOT of pink ornaments (we went overboard)

We built up David’s Hot Wheels collection a bit!

I think this is so cute. Chris got Penny and Mom a Farkle set, they loved it!

Awww pics of the grandkids

Also got Chris a Lego firetruck he built right away. This has sparked another Lego frenzy for him and since we’ve been home he’s been cleaning up the basement and getting all his Legos out and building again (and buying a lot more on eBay!)

Christmas dinner. SO MUCH yummy food all weekend (as my tight jeans told me later!)

Good one of Dad H

Penny & Kalli

Future heartbreaker

We played a lot of Balderdash, Wizard, David lived on the Wii for three days straight :) and just enjoyed snowed-in activities. Come Sunday we had to do quite a bit of shoveling to get ourselves out of the driveway, but once we were on the interstate everything was clear and dry for the ride home.
Thanks family for another awesome time!

The rest of the week home I was off work (woo!) so I made cookies with Sarah and relaxed. On New Year’s Eve we had some people over and did what we always do with people - played games, ate, watched The Hangover :)

Since my sisters and I all spent Christmas with our in-laws we did a late Christmas together on New Year’s Eve Weekend.

Yes, let’s get this celebration kicked off right!


Santa cookies (carried on from Grandma’s tradition)

Eric helping Eli with his Yo Gabba Gabba percussion set

The best gift of the day - A Christmas Story leg lamp! :) We all chipped in and got this

Eli in on the action too

A bottle of wine dad bought for us three or four years ago which wasn’t to be opened until 2010. It was a delicious Shiraz!
We also had a lovely ham dinner but we didn’t get pics of that!

That was part of the week that was negative a bajillion degrees so we stayed in all weekend! A lot of movies, snacks, drinks, etc.

So yes, Chris and his legos. I woke up one morning and found this on our kitchen counter
A Lego model of our townhouse! So cute!

First floor (complete with cars in garage), second floor, roof

Viv helped. She’s been interested in Chris’ Lego hobby and sits on/around his builds

He actually let me build one of the sets! :) He had to fix it too when I put something together one section off, oops

We could open a store

So the holidays have been over for a couple weeks and we’ve been back to work (well, I took a break, Chris didn’t really) and working out. I packed on probably 5 lbs over the holidays but after a couple weeks of eating better and working out I’m back to where I was before the holidays (woo!).

This past weekend April and Alisha came up for a visit. They just got back from a long trip to Italy so it was fun to see them and spend time with them again!
They came in Friday and we just relaxed until bedtime. On Saturday we drove up to Boone to go snow tubing at Seven Oaks. It was a great time but it was such a steep hill and you went so fast that I was a little freaked! Funny how I can ski fine at 12,000 feet but tubing at 300 feet gets to me :)



Heading up

On the way home we had another little adventure. There’s an abandoned school in Luther (in between Boone and home) and I asked Chris to pull over so I could take a couple pictures. Well, a ditch filled with snow makes the ground look level! Guess what, it wasn’t; we quickly sunk down.
We were probably great than a 45-degree angle; I was afraid we’d tip! Pics don’t do it justice


Luckily a good samaritan with a truck who just happened to have a two rope helped us out! It took several tries but he finally got us out! Whew. Very nice not to have to pay and wait for a tow truck. Lesson learned - ditches filled with snow will not hold up a car :)
Yesterday we shopped about all day and they headed home today - thanks for coming up ladies!