Monday, November 24, 2014

Thankful: My Family

In honor of Thanksgiving, this week I want to focus on the five things I am most thankful for. Life swishes by us so fast and it's easy to take for granted the things/people in life that we couldn't live without. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to reflect on these instead of just being #blessed all the time.

Today I want to focus on my biggest support system and the most loving people in my life, my family.

I am fortunate enough to have not only one, but two loving sets of parents. My parents and JP's parents all love us unconditionally and support us in every aspect of life. If I ever need help, advice, a shoulder to cry on or someone to lift me up, I know I can turn to any of them...and I have...many times! My parents have been married for 28 years and JP's parents have been married for 31 years. They show us what true love is and how to work towards a lifetime of happiness. Because we all know that love and marriage is work. The best kind of work. But it's still work!

I also happened to hit the jackpot in the sister department because not only do I have a great sister, but a true best friend. We are there for each other through thick and thin. We've seen each other's highs, lows and in betweens. We've stayed up all night chatting, laughing and telling secrets. We've screamed in each other's faces. We've been each other's rocks.

Did I mention that I have two more sisters that complete this quartet of chaos? Charlotte, who lived with my family in high school and JP and I last year, has been the non-blood related sister that pretty much is a perfect fit into our family. Kate is my amazing sister in law who I've grown so close to over the past 8 years. What it boils down to is that I have three beautiful, awesome women in my life who I can could on no matter what for the rest of my life.

To make my life even more full and joyful, I have two no so little brothers who I love with all my heart. I'm sure to tell them often, though I'm positive they think I'm crazy. I'm 98% sure they love me too ;) Growing up, I had to be the big sister. The big bossy sister. So we didn't always see eye to eye, but as we've grown, we've come so much closer together. These two boys have taught me so much in life and I am so thankful to have them in my life. I'm pretty sure they think I'm completely nuts, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

So this is my crazy awesome family. 5 Timmers. 1 Vorkinn. 5 Gouglers {including me of course!} To top it off, we have a huge extended family that we are very close to. We don't get to see them all the time since we're all across the country, but when we do it is nothing short of amazing.

From North Carolina to Illinois. Florida to Tennessee. Arizona to Colorado. They're everywhere! Family gathering are always crazy, amazing and full of love.

My family is and will always be everything to me. I thank God every day for giving me the most wonderful people to celebrate life with. Mom, Dad, Jody, Phil, JP, Emily, Ben, Matt, Kate and Charlotte; thank you for being my rock. Y'all make every day the best it can be and I couldn't imagine my life without y'all.

Oh and how could I forget these 3!

My life wouldn't be the same without two puppies and my pretty cool husband running around my house! Love these three with all my heart and soul. <3 all="" already="" but="" knew="" nbsp="" p="" that.="" y="">
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Four Years of Miss Maggie

This past Sunday, my little Maggie turned 4 years old! And you better believe I'm a proud momma. Miss Maggie has been by my side through a lot of ups and downs. My sister often points out that Maggie is obsessed with me. If that's not true love I don't know what is. {But seriously, she's obsessed with her momma. She's my little shadow and snuggle bear.}

Year One

We adopted Maggie a week and a half after moving to Pittsburgh. I found her picture online at an adoption site in New Philadelphia, OH called From Heaven to Earth. When I saw her, I knew she was mine. I even texted her picture to all my friends saying I was going to get her before I met her. After meeting Maggie and her siblings, I knew that she was the dog for me. I was so right. She's my little spirit animal.

The year we lived in Pittsburgh, I worked from home. So not only did I move up there not knowing a soul, I was spending most of my time in the house. Maggie became my little best friend. We did everything together which is why we have such a tight bond.

Year Two

Shortly after her first birthday, we moved back to Houston and Maggie got to experience being a southern dog. She missed the snow in Pittsburgh, but was thrilled to have so many more people to be around. Maggie is very much a people dog. Moving to Houston allowed us to take her to my parents' and JP's parents' house for lots of playtime and room to run.

It took her a while, but she finally started to fill out and grow into her own. That and she grew into those ears! Those ears that made me fall in love with her to begin with!

Year Three

The first half of the year Maggie continued to be an only dog in the Gougler household. She still got to visit with her Aunt Dixie every so often, but she was still spoiled rotten and living the high life.

Come July 2013, Maggie got a baby brother! She actually took to him right away and they formed such a tight bond. I couldn't have asked for more! Adopting Moose brought a whole new dynamic to our family. Maggie had a new playmate and was able to burn a little energy without me having to take her running all the time! Of course they're jealous of each other from time to time, but they both get plenty of attention from all the family they have!

Year Four

People have told me that eventually Maggie would calm down. Oh by the time she's three or four she'll stop jumping and being crazy. Yeah right. My dog has too much energy and spunk, and I wouldn't change it any other way. I think having a little brother has kept her young at heart!

I am beyond thankful for the past four years with this little girl and I can't wait to spend so many more with her. She is definitely my mini me in dog form. She has taught me patience, unconditional love, more patience, happiness and even more patience. She's a wonderful big sister to Moose and hopefully one day, she'll be an amazing big sister to a future little Gougler. {No this is not a hint that I am pregnant.} 

I love you little Miss Maggie! Happy fourth birthday!!!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Disney California Adventure

It appears as though I abandoned y'all! This week has been a little rough for me. Super busy, but I couldn't leave the second half of my Disney trip undocumented for much longer. In case you missed it, check out day one of our Disneyland adventure here!

Just like the main park, many parts of Disneyland California Adventure were decked out for the holiday season and of course Alison and I were ready to take full advantage.

Our first stop at the part was the Cars ride! My friend Rachael recommended doing it first to miss the line and she was so right! We even jumped in the single rider line and pretty much walked up to the front. Talk about the royal treatment!

As you can see, Alison and I even got to ride in the same car! #winning

After exploring Carsland and a few picture stops, we were on our way to the boardwalk!

Philip, JP and I rode California Screamin' {the big roller coaster above!} while Ali did some shopping. Then we met back up and rode fun carnival rides like the swings! It took me back to our Chicago trip this August when my sister and I rode the swing on Navy Pier!

We couldn't resist all the picture opps with all the beautiful Disney Christmas trees! Look closely, you'll see that several of those ball ornaments are actually in the shape of Mickey's head!

After the Paradise Pier rides, we had to do Ariel's ride, Soarin', Tower of Terror and several others before the boys and girls went separate ways...

The boys headed to Downtown Disney to watch the A&M - Auburn game at the ESPN Zone. Meanwhile, Alison and I were doing way more exciting things. You know, like meeting a bunch of princesses at Ali's Princess Birthday Lunch!

We first met Ariel since we were dining at her Grotto. Followed by Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella and finally Mulan. We had a nice little chat with each of them and even got their autographs for our books. Sounds cheesy, but it was so awesome. I love being young at heart, it opens up so many opportunities for joy in your life!

Mulan was our favorite princess we met that day. She was so spunky and free spirited and she has a solid selfie. The food at the restaurant was also really good! It's safe to say that Ali and I really enjoyed dessert. After all, it is the most delicious meal of the day! They even brought Ali a birthday cupcake and the waiter and I awkwardly sang her happy birthday. Just the two of us. It was wonderful and I loved it. I hope you made a good wish Ali and that it comes true!!!

After lunch the game was still on, so Alison and I decided to walk around ride whatever rides struck our fancy and take as many pictures with characters as we could!

We snapped one with Daisy as we were walking to the Toy Story ride and we managed to find Woody right after!

We decided to walk around A Bug's Life Land and quickly realized it was not meant for people our size. AKA it was for little people...children. But low and behold, Flik was there for us to snap another selfie!

We realized that we had yet to go on the Monster's Inc ride and the boys were still watching the longest football game ever, so we headed that way and got to meet Eeyore and Tigger along the way.

Right when we were about to meet Pooh, they took him away and we were sad, sad princesses. So after a quick princess pout we were off to Monster's Inc to save Boo!

We had a bit of time to kill before the boys got back so we decided to test our drawing skills in an animation sketching class. Now, I am not an artist. In fact, I have limited to no drawing skills and I'll be the first to admit that the Pluto I drew looks like the real thing!

Eventually, the boys came back after a shocking and close A&M victory over Auburn. It was nice to have the guys back and in such a great mood!

They needed to experience the Toy Story ride and Ali and I were ready to do it again!

We rode a few more rides before calling it quits and realizing that there wasn't anything else that we needed to do. It was the most perfect day!

We wrapped up the trip Sunday morning with brunch at the famous Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. The boys were elated and it was probably the most excited we had seen them the whole weekend. Hey whatever works right?

Needless to say, Ali and I were not ready to go home. The United Lounge didn't even help to lift our spirits. Luckily, we'll be heading back to Orlando with the quatro amigos {Julie, Amy, Alison & Ashley} for our Disney Princess weekend in February!

Until then Disney...

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Disneyland: Where Dreams Come True

Anyone who has been around my little space on the Internet for a little while knows about my love of all things Disney. I plan annual Disney girls trips with my best friends for the Disney Princess half. I listen to {and sing at the top of my lungs} Disney songs like it's my job. I dream of living close enough to have an annual pass. Pretty much I'm an overgrown 6 year old and I am not ashamed of it. Luckily for me, many of my friends feel the same way. This weekend one of my best friends turns 30 and guess what she wanted to do for her birthday? DISNEYLAND! I said yes immediately and this past weekend we ventured to California for a quick and awesome Disney trip.

WARNING: This post contains A LOT of pictures. So if you hate all things wonderful, happy, fun and amazing, then stop reading now :)

We flew out to LAX on Thursday late afternoon, so we were ready to rock and roll bright and early Friday morning for Disneyland!

The weather that weekend was wonderful. Maybe a little on the warm side, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the temps got up to the mid-80s. Temps in the 80s in California are WAY better then the same temperature in Houston, so it didn't bother us much at all.

We started our adventure in Tomorrowland! Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Submarine adventure, all the fun things with practically no lines. We're talking 10 minutes max!

Since it was the first weekend after Halloween, several of the attractions were already set up for Christmas! You know that made this Christmas lover's heart soar! Christmas + Disney + Husband + Best Friends = All the happy things on earth.

It's a Small World turned Christmas with Jingle Bells, Feliz Navidad, Silent Night and more!

And the Haunted Mansion turned into The Nightmare Before Christmas! **Funny side note story: I DVR'ed this movie on Halloween Week and watched it the night before we went to Cali! It was fate. Obviously.

After a while, Pineapple Dole Whip was absolutely needed. Apparently we were incredibly lucky and great on time because as we were getting up to head somewhere new after our snack break, we realized the start of the parade was coming our way! It was the first day of the Disney Christmas Parade and we had awesome seats right on Main Street USA!

As the parade wrapped up, we started wandering and suddenly stumbled upon the place where the princesses were. It said there was a 5 minute wait and Alison and I were shocked. Turns out there wasn't a wait at all. The place was empty and ready for Ali and I to act like 6 year olds. It was AWESOME! Snow White even got our husbands in on it and convinced them to stand like princes with us!

As we were leaving Snow said, "I hope you all live happily ever after!" And Ali and I about died. After that we were on cloud nine. We went to a few more rides we hadn't been on and headed back to the hotel to get dolled up for dinner!

We decided to head to Newport Beach for a very fresh, delicious meal at The Flying Fish! Ali found it on Yelp and it was amazing! It was right across from the beach, so after we ate we had to run on the sand and dip our feet in the freezing water. It was the perfect end to amazing first Disney day!

Saturday rolled around and it was time for the Disney California Adventure Park! More to come on our second day at Disneyland next week!

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