Monday, May 30, 2011

Make Your ♥ Melt Monday

Happy Memorial Day everyone! And a beautiful one at that! I woke up this morning to this weird light coming from the sky and there wasn't rain and I felt warmth... amazing! Today was super productive and I was able to spend a few hours with the family around grandma's pool. I huge thank you to my wonderful dad for taking the time today to go with us to Menards and pick up all the materials for our fence. Good thing he was there because I'm not sure how much more I could have lifted today! However, with random fencing materials strewn around the backyard, we are ready to start leveling parts of the yard, setting posts and clearing the remaining shrubs. Fencing will commence June 18-19 if anyone is interested in lots of food, cold beer and putting up a fence!  :)  Our old cranky neighbors are still throwing their negativity over their little hedge. Today's comment was, "why don't you just do the electric fence (for our future dog)?" Well uh, yeah that's great, but I don't think our future children will appreciate a shock collar. Just saying.

Welp, I hope everyone enjoyed this beautiful day and hopefully spent it with family and friends. Short work week... high five! 'Night!

Betsy is a female Chihuahua mix.
Frankie is a male American Bulldog.
Greta is a female Chihuahua mix.
Rocky is a male American Bulldog.
Roy is a male Shih Tzu.
Simba is a male Corgi.

Friday, May 27, 2011


The sun is shining, it finally stopped raining and I'm t-minus 6 1/2 hours away from a three day weekend. Most definitely a happy Friday! Plans for most of the weekend include camping at Bass Lake with a bunch of Clay's friends. I can't say that I'm exactly 100% thrilled about going, but there's just so much going on around the house right now that I was hoping to take full advantage of the long weekend.

My mom and I currently have weekly paint dates in an effort to transform my pre-loved dining room set from worn down and lackluster to chic and dazzling. Clay and I bought this set from a couple in Spring Lake right before we got married. Complete with six chairs and three various sized leaves, the table was just the right size for the two of us, but could easily accommodate 8+ people. Plus it was a pretty decent deal and they knocked an additional $40 off of it when we saw that two of the leaves had obviously had something very hot set on them. We're busy stripping off what's left of the varnish and painting it with a black semi-gloss lacquer. Mmm. Can't wait until it's finished!

Sneak peak at a couple of our new and improved chairs!

Great news! After months of searching and finally convinced that our neighbors planted a tree on the last property stake we're looking for... I begged the surveying company that originally did our lot to give us a deal on finding the one stake. The guy agreed to come out for $50 and help us out. Thank God I got that in writing because I may or may not have failed to mention that we think it's underneath a tree. Whoops, must have slipped my mind. So, they'll be out in the next week or so to mark the stake and send us on our merry fence building way. PS... if anyone is looking for something to do the weekend of June 18-19... there will be good food and cold drinks at my house! Minor catch though... you have to help with the fence.  ;)

Clay and I also made great headway on prepping the backyard last weekend. Ran some rope between the back two stakes and cleared out all the brush. Clay and his hand saw went ape shit on all the ugly, overgrown plants and small trees while I battled weeds and ivy. Unfortunately, in one of the back corners, we have two neighbors who apparently love the ivy. So I'm looking at a lifetime of battling the ivy invasion from my side of the fence. Gah. However, since they're both really really old... let's just say as soon as the house is vacant, Round Up and I will have our revenge.

More great news! Doctor started me on the other pills this week. These are a daily pill as oppose to weekly like the ones and fortunately are half the price! Downside... apparently way worse side effects. Great. As if my "crazy pills" weren't bad enough. Now we have crazy 2.0. I was totally paranoid the first couple nights and took that RIGHT BEFORE bed. I'm talking crawl in bed, get situated, take the pill and hope to fall asleep within 30 seconds. I read one of the side effects is extreme fatigue. Oh man, they're not joking! This was beyond the normal "I might die if I have to get up right now" feeling. It was like trying to resurrect myself from a coma. I also had terrible bouts of dizziness and nausea the first few mornings. Thankfully, only after 5 days, I think I'm pretty use to the pills now. I haven't died anyways and that's always a good day in my book.

1. Do you apologize to your kids?
No kids yet, but yes someday, if I screw up, I will apologize to them.

2. What color are your nails right now?
Toes are this dark fuchsia and fingers are naked. Thought about painting them last night, but the toes were all the more ambition I had.

3. When you were growing up, how difficult was it for you to stay home from school sick? (As in, did you have to vomit or just say "I don't feel good".)
I didn't try to get out of school when I was younger. The inner nerd in me knew missing school always preceded a long night of catching up on homework and it wasn't an option to miss practice after school. If I was truly sick, I just told my mom and she knew I was telling the truth.

4. When is the last time you bought a new comforter for your bed?
My mother- and sisters-in-law bought Clay and I a new blue and brown comforter for my bridal shower. Now if only I made the bed enough to enjoy it.  :/

5. Favorite website(s)?
I'm a Facebook junkie all the way. I also really really love my Pinterest page. If anyone wants an invite to Pinterest, just send me your email address. Check it out, it's a really great way to organize all those photos and ideas you find online.

Well, anyways, Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Make Your ♥ Melt Monday

Happy Monday everyone! Sadly, I have failed the furry kids once again. This is my second week in a row missing my volunteer time. Failure. And I have neglected to post pictures the last few weeks. Double failure. Welp, considering I'm exhausted from the weekend and am miserable with a food baby... I have nothing more to say. Without further ado, the furry kids...

Clyde is a male Pit Bull Terrier.

Jax is a male Beagle.

Sheba is a female Hound mix.

Smokey is a male Labrador Retriever.

Thompson is a male American Eskimo mix.

Vira is a female Pit Bull Terrier.

Vulcan is a male Pit Bull Terrier.
Oreo is a female Chihuahua.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Uh, my apologies for the lack of dog pictures and attention I've paid to my blog this week. It took me almost two days to snap out of my emotional coma earlier in the week and things went ape shit at work. Busy busy busy. Can't complain though... I'll take a busy day over a slow day at work any time! Operation Landscape update... we found three of the four property stakes! High five! I've been fighting this epic battle for several months now. Started with only one guaranteed stake in the back corner. A metal detector failed me miserably and finally had to resort to the power of a low-cut shirt to get some answers/help from the surveying company. Not one of my finer moments, but double high five! Not sure how we're going to successfully find the fourth stake because it's somewhere lost amongst a jungle of roots and sprinkler lines. Fingers crossed.

I'm definitely looking forward to tonight though. We've had this card night planned for over a month with my parents, husband and I and my sister with her new boyfriend. We had the two love birds over to our house last weekend to teach him the game and had a really great time together. Confirmed that my sister is slightly retarded, but a hilarious time none the less.

1. Do you and your spouse go to bed at the same time?
Well, 99% of the time we do... except for the occasional 4 AM Call of Duty marathon on a Saturday night. In that case, I let the 27-year-old child stay up past his bedtime while I go lay claims to the entire bed. Other than that, we head to bed at the same time. What time we actually fall asleep is a completely different matter. I toss and turn for at least a half hour thinking of all the things I didn't get done/should have done/need to get done whereas Clay passes out in about 0.064 seconds.

2. A question for the ladies...What kind of facial hair do you like on your man?
Hmm, toughie. Definitely depends on the guy though. I like Clay clean shaven... maybe a slight five o'clock shadow. I don't like crazy scratchy beard exfoliating my face when I kiss him. I do, however, like the "waaaay past five o'clock shadow, but not anywhere near a beard" look. For example, my boyfriend Robert Pattinson. Mmm.

3. What's the worst vacation you've ever taken?
I don't take bad vacations. Mainly because most of my vacations have been with my family... always an amazing time and "it never rains on my dad's vacation." I certainly wouldn't call this a vacation, but we went camping for a night with Clay's buddies somewhere in the frozen Michigan north and I froze my ass off during the night. Couldn't sleep because I was so cold, so I woke Clay up in the wee hours of the morning and told him we're going home. Yes, party pooper... but I don't like to be cold. Especially THAT cold. 

4. What's the first-ever blog you followed?
I started following Victoria Pater's blog back in college. She graduated a couple years ahead of me at Ferris and is an exceptional designer. I like to live vicariously through her... I just love her awesome jobs/opportunities and awesome Chicago loft and awesome dog Milo. :)

5. Do you enjoy amusement parks?
Hell yeah! My parents stuck Ashley and I on rollercoasters at a very young age and we haven't gotten off since. Mind you, being ungodly tall at such a young age does have it's advantages. No, I couldn't find clothes that fit me and I fell over when I walked, but I did meet the minimum height requirements on all the major rides at Cedar Point by the time I was like 5. Sorry wee people.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tumor update

As if Mondays are crappy enough, I started mine out in the office of Dr. Kryshak, Endocrinologist. For those of you who are not fully aware of my current issue, let me back up a bit. For the last 4+ years, I've addressed a certain health issue with my then primary care physician...  he kept blowing it off as "just getting older." When I changed doctors a few years ago and addressed the same issue, she immediately became concerned and ordered quite a few tests in the following week. I spent my 2009 Christmas Eve at the hospital having an ultrasound and galactrogram done. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say I left the hospital that night convinced that the mass they found was cancer.

That next week, an MRI was ordered. The very next day, the MRI technician called me and said that they found "something" and I needed to come back for a second scan. When I asked when they could squeeze me in, their response was, "we need you to come back immediately." Yes, I'm freaking out at this point. Bottom line, after two blood workups, two MRIs, a galactogram, mammogram and ultrasound... I was diagnosed with a pituitary microadenoma (benign tumor on my pituitary gland) and elevated prolactin levels.

I was doing the medication-bloodwork-MRI tango for a year and a half before I stopped taking the meds. Results showed the tumor was neither shrinking nor growing, but my prolactin levels elevated again once I was off the medication. Unfortunately, my doctor mis-informed me of the parameters of this drug. She said that if I was considering getting pregnant, I had to be off the meds for at least six months and they were dangerous to take when pregnant. She also said that pituitary adenomas could lead to vision loss and a whole list of side effects. Plus, thanks to Health Savings Account, these expensive pills were now 100% out of pocket. Bottom line, I haven't been taking them since January.

The endocrinologist quieted a lot of my fears today and was more helpful in an hour than my PCP has been in two years. Basically, high prolactin levels makes you infertile (sadness, yes) and my tumor isn't gone as the last MRI might have suggested. However, he explained that the meds were not dangerous at all to women who are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant. In fact, I have to be on these pills if I ever plan on having children. Although I didn't want to continue to be a pill popper, looks like I'm back on meds to control the tumor and hormone levels... for now at least. I'm hoping that I'm one of those cases where this all goes away, but for now, I see a lot of praying and pills in my future.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Happy super-warm-no-rain-totally-awesome Friday! The last few mornings have been absolutely beautiful and it makes me really really really not want to be trapped in the cubicle farm. I ran out for lunch today to get my MRI scans (more about that later) and I came back sweating! Hello glorious sun, I have missed you terribly! Weatherman says rain the rest of the weekend, but I hope he's wrong (like usual). My yard needs some of my undivided attention and I, Andrea, vow to spend every waking moment this weekend scouring the yard for my property stakes. I shall be victorious!

Clay and I have Dan's graduation party to go to tonight and, like always, I'm excited to see the family. I hope Dan has a great time in Detroit and loves his new job at GM. I'm very proud of him... especially after what he had to deal with regarding his surgeries and recovery time. I'm going to miss him a ton, but wish him all the best!!

1. What is your one “splurge” item, that you will always buy, no matter the cost?
I'm super Dutch and have a hard time spending money even on the necessities. Therefore, I really don't have a "splurge" item. Jeans are something that I end up spending a butt ton on only because there are only so many stores/brands that offer them long enough and usually cost $100+. Definitely not my first choice of things to spend that kind of money on, but I need some jeans. Luckily, I don't grow any (well, height that is) so I only need to buy jeans every couple years. 

2. What is your current favorite book, and why?
I will always love the Twilight series (yes, I'm one of those people). However, I just finished reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and just loved it. The Lost Symbol is the sequel to The DaVinci Code. Like all of Dan Brown's books, great story and an easy read. 

3. Do you go to the dentist regularly?
Absolutely. Every 6 months like a good girl. 

4. What is your worst memory from high school?
Probably when I chose to quit basketball. No, I don't regret my decision... it was more the politics involved. I had a coach tell me that I was stupid for quitting and dedicating myself to volleyball year round would still only land me at community college. Well, up yours lady. So many people stuck their nose in my business and gave me their unwanted two cents. Other than that, high school just pretty much sucked all around. 

5. What do you hope to be remembered for in your life?
I want people to remember me as someone who was always kind and willing to lend a hand. At my great-grandma's funeral a few years ago, everyone remembered how she'd never let a good deed go unnoticed or unrewarded. She would always bake something as a "thank you" and was always to genuinely kind to people she met. I always try to make a point to bring laughter to people's lives. I love to laugh and joke around and love it when people look to me to brighten their mood. I don't care if I'm never remembered for the sports I played or the jobs I worked... I want people to look back at my life and think, "she always made me laugh."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Make Your ♥ Melt Monday

Soooo, I met a celebrity tonight. I saw Kate Gosselin at the Harbor Humane Society... in the form of a Jack Russell Terrier. This lil dog, named Nina, has the Kate reversed mullet hairdo. No shit. Long blonde bangs, parted on the side that framed around her face. Then she had short spiky hair in the back longer than the rest of her fir. I'm quite bummed I couldn't find a picture of her on Petfinder. There was also this little black and white bundle of joy that just wanted to give me hugs. She sat on the bench with me like we should've been talking about how our day went and how nice the weather is. She was such a cutie. Between her and the tiny half-starved chihuahua, I was about ready to smuggle one of them out of there. Have a great week everyone!

Benji is a female Labrador Retriever Basenji mix.

BoJangles is a male Labrador Retriever.

Carl is a male Labrador Retriever.

Sassy is a female Shepherd mix.

Tessa is a female Boxer Pit Bull Terrier.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and moms-to-be out there! It was so weird/sad to not be with my family this morning to give my mom her gift. Ashley called and put me on speakerphone so I could be there audibly. Better than nothin'. I ate soggy shredded wheat this morning in honor of all those Mother's Days that Ashley and I got up early to make breakfast in bed for my parents. Apparently we took too long and by the time we got my mom's cereal to her and it was mush. Good times in the Zylstra home.

Spent the day at Aunt Cindy's for awhile and then went to Mom and Dad Arch's house. We had the chance to show both families our awesome wedding video created by my cousin Laura. She did such a beautiful job and I'm so excited to have this amazing keepsake. It's definitely something I'm so excited to be able to show my kids someday. Thank you Laura, I hope to return to favor someday!

Ugh, I miss my family. These family gatherings that I can only stay for a couple hours are not long enough. I mean, crap, I got an email from my dad tonight saying, "send me youtube link, love you" and I started crying. For real. I only talk to my dad like once every two weeks, if that. I never know when to call him because he's always at work and I don't want to interrupt him. I can't wait until he's done with his shananigans in West Virginia. I especially miss him when I have questions and need help with the house. No, he's not just my personal handyman, but it's something we can do together and he's just so awesome at those kind of things. Miss you Dad.

I'm hoping to have an evening cook-a-thon with Mom sometime this week. She's going to help me stock my freezer with dinners because I suck oh so bad at coming up with dinner ideas on the fly. God forbid I plan ahead either. I love mom and Andrea time. I have such an amazing mom and best friend. I'd be so lost without her. Maybe since I'm looking at needing to use up an extra week of vacation before September, I'll have to take a week off and spend it baking in the pool with mother this summer with a margarita or two. Yes, that sounds quite lovely.

Again, Happy Mother's Day everyone and have a great week! xoxo

My beautiful mother and I  07.17.10

Friday, May 6, 2011


1. Would you ever vacation alone?
Um, probably not. Don't get my wrong, sometimes I love being a loner, but if you're going to go spend time somewhere totally awesome... why not share it with someone? I loved vacationing with my family. Those 2 week road trips around the country were some of the greatest times ever... and then there was the unforgettable, one-in-a-lifetime island hopping in Hawaii with the fam... and multiple trips to CA... and bringing the boyfriends with us to the Keys... and a Jamaican honeymoon with Clayton... etc. etc. etc. Why the hell would I want to experience any of that alone?! 

2. Do you go the speed limit?
I use to be quite the speed demon... until I was pulled over going 87 down the highway. Miraculously, I was only given a warning. However, it was enough to scare the shit out of me and now I keep it anywhere from 5-7 mph over. 

3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs?
I've been following a few blogs for a couple years now... mostly written by designers I either know or went to school with. I started blogging when I became engaged in August 2008 and created a wedding page. After that was over and done with, I really missed that form of a creative outlet. Sometimes I just need to type and ramble about stuff. Even though there's only a handful of people who may read my blog, sometimes I just need to get my thoughts and point of view out there. 

4. Where do you shop for yourself?
Shop? What's that? I have a closet full of Mona Shores and Ferris State apparel in black, grey, navy, gold or maroon. Ok ok, I know... pathetic. The once a year I do go out and do this so-called "shopping," I love Kohls. Everything is always on sale, accessories are nice and the shirts are always long enough in the sleeves and torso. Jeans require a stop at Vanity.

5. What was the song that you danced your first dance with your spouse to at your wedding/what song would you like your first dance to be to?
Over the two years I was engaged, I must have changed my mind on a first dance song at least 20 times. That is, however, until I heard a cover song on YouTube. Clay isn't much of a music person, but we both really like Boys Like Girls. Unfortunately they don't have any great "first dance" songs except for maybe Hero/Heroine. With that said, I started looking for cover versions of that song. I heard a piano rendition of Hero/Heroine by Justin Robinett and Michael Henry and instantly has goosebumps. I knew that that was our song. I still listen to it frequently and it takes me back every time.  xoxo

Have a fantastic weekend everyone and be sure to spoil your mom! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


You ever have that feeling of anxiety, but it's the good kind of anxiety? Like so much happiness and excitement is happening in your life or is going to happen that you feel like you might explode? That's pretty much how I feel right now. It's weird because it's not like there's a bunch of awesome events coming up or something incredible groundbreaking. I think it's just a combination of a bunch of "small" things that just make me take a step back and think, "my life is awesome."

For example... I had a super time with my mom and sister last weekend. Friday night we went to the Chocolate Factory event in Grand Rapids. Just the three of us and some free chocolate... what's not to be happy about? Plus I hadn't seen my mom since January and I really missed her. My sister left that morning for a road trip to SC, so it was just mom, Boo, Nut and I the rest of the weekend. Couple errands, went out for dinner, layed out in the sun, watched a few movies... such a great weekend. 

There was also another huge highlight that totally made my weekend (and am still bursting with excitement about). Sorry I can't give the secret away... it's not my secret to share. But believe me, as soon as it's public, you best believe you'll hear about it from me.  :)

Let's see, what else is new with me..... just went to the hospital for my MRI. Once the results are in, I have to start looking for a neuro specialist. Great. I might be looking at a trip to U of M in the near future. But.... I don't have the results just yet, so best to keep calm and wait to hear from my doctor.

I am super excited to get going on our yard/landscaping this summer. I spent about an hour outside last night pulling weeds and picking up small branches. Four 5 gallon bucket fulls later and I'm almost dandelion free. We have some hideous purple-burgandy-ish weeds taking over our backyard as well. Eww. At one point, I was hoping to totally transform my lawn this summer so we would no longer be "that neighbor." Unfortunately, until we can guarantee that $%#@&?! ivy is dead, we really can't begin to grow grass. We also can't start on our fence until we find the property lines that I'm positive don't exist. So much to do, so little time, so little extra cash. So for the next few summers, sorry neighbors, bear with me.

Welp, better get rollin'. Hope everyone can get outside and enjoy the non-snowy season. Go find your little ray of happiness. xoxo

Monday, May 2, 2011

Make Your ♥ Melt Monday

Happy Monday readers! Today has been a rather eventful day unlike the usual sluggish Mondays. My boss sabotaged my cubicle last week with this little circuit board looking device that was hidden behind my shelf and omitted a loud beep every few minutes. I've been losing my mind! I tore apart my entire cube trying to find the source of this noise and couldn't find anything that was electronic or battery operated. Finally today, after I threatened to go insane, he confessed. Had to be there I guess, but it was pretty funny.

Anyways, welp, kinda short... but I have to go get changed and get going to see the kids. After scrolling through PetFinder, I see quite a few new faces and a lot of missing ones. HHS has a adopt-a-thon over the weekend, so I'm hoping a lot of kids found good homes! Fingers crossed!!! xoxox

Boomer is a male Hound mix.

Boozer is a male Labrador Retriever mix.

Cocoa is a female Chihuahua.

Linus is a male Pit Bull Terrier mix.

Nikki is a female Chihuahua.


1. If you could buy any car, money not an option, what would it be?
Oh, I don't know. I may work for an automotive company, but I don't speak car. I guess anything fast, sexy and lots of bells and whistles. There. There's my super lame answer.

2. What was your worst first date ever?
Um. I've only really ever "dated" my husband. I had a couple other boyfriends, but those were middle school and very early high school. I went to a football game with HS freshman year boyfriend and he pretty much ignored me the whole game. So if you want to count that as a date, that's it.

3. How old were you when you fell in love for the first time?
I thought I was in love with my middle school boyfriend. Ha! What a joke. (Thanks mom and dad for convincing me that it wasn't the end of the world when we broke up). My first and only real love is my husband, Clayton. xoxo

4. When was the last time you reconciled your checkbook?
I use to do it every few weeks when it was my account and mine alone. Now that my husband is a frequent spender and makes a thousand extra line items, I can't keep up. So once a month, I check our statement online and make sure I don't need to closely monitor his fast food/Cabela's spending.

5. If you were going to fashion a "Wanted" Ad for a best friend, how would you word it?
WANTED: Best friend who is willing to sit and talk shit about people we know, is a good drinking buddy and is a lot like me. <HEART YOU MOOSE!>
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