Welcome to my blog and thanks for reading! To find out how my husband and I ended up with 7 dogs, check out The Story of Our Family

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 Memories...the happy, sad, crazy, and fun

Since 2009 is coming to a quick end, I wanted to highlight my year. It has been an exciting year...I'm not sure how 2010 can top it!

January 10, 2009 - I became Erin Elizabeth Melson Semprun! This was the happiest day of my life so far. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding. My family and closest friends joined in our celebration and to top it off, it was a waterpark wedding at The Great Wolf Lodge! It was such a fun party and I wish I could do it every year!

January 11 - 17, 2009 - Our honeymoon! We went to Cancun and even though it rained most the time we were there, it was still really relaxing and fun. It was nice to chill out with Chris and not have to worry about anything. Even though it was sad when our honeymoon was over, we were really excited to see our dogs!

March 31, 2009 - Britney Concert #3 with Ashley! GREAT night! We hadn't seen Britney in concert since 2002, so we were SO excited! Little did we know that we would be seeing her again this year!

May 2, 2009 - Ashley's Large Barge Birthday Party! This was SUCH a fun day! There were lots of people celebrating Ashley's party on a boat on Lake Travis in Austin with lots of drinks, food, dancing, CAKE, swimming, and water slides! I REALLY hope she does this one again! Hint Hint!

May 5, 2009 - I joined Team in Training! Joining Team in Training was one of the best decisions I made this year! I didn't know at the time that it would become such a big part of my life and I would make great friends!

July 11, 2009 - Saying goodbye to Annie. This is one of the sad memories that stands out when I think about 2009. Annie was a part of our family for 15 years. She wasn't just a dog to our family...Annie was a sister, a best friend, a running partner, and a great singer. She will never be replaced or forgotton.

September 2, 2009 - Mommom passed away. This was another sad memory of 2009. I have tons of great memories of Mommom. She was so kind and thoughtful and I am so blessed to have her as my grandma. I know she is hanging out with Poppop eating pretzles and drinking diet sprite.

September 5, 2009 - OU game at the new Cowboys stadium! Although the game didn't turn out well, it was still cool to see my team play at the biggest and best stadium! It was also fun to take Chris to his very first OU game!

September 18, 2009 - Britney concert #4 with Ashley and Kristin! This concert topped the one in March! We had awesome seats and we made a great night of it, before and after the concert. I am SO glad Kristin came with Ashley and I!

October 3, 2009 - Mommom's funeral in Richmond. Although it was a sad occasion, it was nice to get together with family and say goodbye to Mommom. It was great hearing stories about Mommom and remembering all the great times with her.
October 11, 2009 - Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon! My very first olympic distance triathlon! I beat my goal time by 37 seconds, even though the weather was miserable. I also raced with my group from Team in Training, which made it a lot of fun
I have tons of other memories from 2009...but these are the big ones that stood out to me. I am so thankful for Chris, my family, my friends, and our crazy dogs for making 2009 such an awesome year. I am really looking forward to 2010! There is already a lot in the works...first anniversary with Chris, half ironman triathlon in Galveston, Kathleen and Ryan's wedding, and so much more! I am blessed!

Monday, November 30, 2009

All I Want For Christmas Is You...

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't need to hang my stocking There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy With a toy on Christmas day
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you You Gabey

I won't ask for much this Christmas
I don't even wish for snow
I'm just gonna keep on waiting Underneath the mistletoe
I won't make a list and send it To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won't even stay awake to Hear those magic reindeers click
'Cause I just want you here tonight Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do Gabey all I want for Christmas is you
Ooh Gabey All the lights are shining So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children's Laughter fills the air
And everyone is singing I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa won't you bring me the one I really need
Won't you please bring my Gabey to me...
Oh I don't want a lot for Christmas
This is all I'm asking for
I just want to see my Gabey Standing right outside my door
Oh I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true Gabey all I want for Christmas is... You

All I want for Christmas is you... Gabey

Monday, November 23, 2009

5 Things I'm Thankful for...

1. My husband...he doesn't understand my weird dancing but he still loves me. He just laughs when I accidentally make a gross dinner and then he takes me out to eat. He knows that food makes me happy. He picks up all the dog poop on a regular basis. He puts up with my craziness and he still loves me despite it. It's been a wonderful 10 months and there are still 75 years left to go! Muhahahaha!

2. My family...they are weird just like me. Every holiday we have jelly bean races at Easter, split leap contest at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all think farts are funny. We think it's funny to make fun of each other. We love to laugh. We hangout a lot and don't get bored.

3. My friends...I have a few very close friends that I know I will always have. We can go without seeing each other and talking for a period of time and then pick up right where we left off. We laugh a lot when we are together and food is always involved. We understand our weird dance moves.

4. doggie soulmate. He has absolutely no respect for me. He bites me a lot, he barks at me when I tell him to sit, he ignores me when I try to get his attention sometimes, he howls at me when he wants to go for a walk, he will get in my way and stay there, even when I ask him politely to move, I constantly have bruises from him. But I love him more than I ever imagined I could love a dog...and I can't picture life without my 105 pound furry friend.

5. The 6 other dogs...they provide tons of entertainment. I NEVER feel lonely. They don't respect me either. I get randomly bit on my leg when I'm walking through the house and I turn around to see them all standing there, so I don't know who bit me. They all have unique personalities. They like food as much as I much that they steal mine.

"Ah! on Thanksgiving day....When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Addiction

This post is long race was almost 3 weeks ago but I've been busy since, here it is! By the way, this is a long one!

In May I joined the Fort Worth Team in Training triathlon team. Team in Training is a volunteer organization, part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was one of the best decisions I've made. I decided to join for a few different reasons...I wanted to do my first Olympic distance triathlon. I've done a few sprint distances but I wanted to step it up a little. I also wanted to train with a group. Training on my own was boring and it was difficult to stay motivated. I also wanted to train with a group who was doing it for a good cause. So, I decided to join Team in Training and dedicate the race and the money I fundraised in memory of a very dear family friend, Alison Webb. Alison passed away in January 2008 after a long fight with lymphoma.
So, on May 5th, I started a long, 5 month journey of intense training and fundraising and made a great group of friends in the process. The race we did was The Toyota US Open Olympic Distance Triathlon in Dallas, on October 11. It included a 1500 meter swim (just short of a mile), a 25 mile bike, and a 6.4 mile run. For this race, we each had to raise $2600. Most of the money went directly towards the North Texas Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A small percentage of it went towards paying for our race registration, our hotel stay before the race, and other small expenses. With the help of many, many friends, families, and lots of people I didn't even know, I was able to raise close to $3200! It wasn't easy and at times it was very stressful, but I had tons of support. It was amazing to me how much people really wanted to help. As a team, we raised over $40,000! All of that money went to families in North Texas to help pay for medical expenses for a family member with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers.
Joining the team was a HUGE committment. Not only did I commit to fundraising a big chunk of money, I committed a LOT of time. My summer was unlike any other summer I've had. No sleeping in on Saturday mornings, not much lounging by the pool, no late nights...I didn't really see any of the friends I usually hangout with. Every day after work, I came home and either swam, ran, or biked, and after a couple months I was doing atleast 2 of those at a time. Most Saturday mornings I woke up around 5:30 to get to our team workout by 6:30. At the beggining of our 5 month training period we were base building. So, short workouts to build our muscles and our endurance. By the end of the training we were doing 90 minute bike rides and 40 minute runs immediatly following. Our open water swims in the lake were sometimes close to 2000 meters. At times, I wanted to stop and throw my bike down or just walk during my runs, but as a team we were encouraged to remember who we were doing it all for. As a patient with a blood cancer, they don't have a choice to stop the pain...they have to fight through it. They don't have a chance to sleep in, instead of going to the hospital for their treatment. Remembering this is what kept me going for 5 months and through the race.

Race morning finally came and it came very early. My alarm went off at 3:15 am on Sunday, October 11th. I turned on the weather and it was 51 degrees and raining. This was NOT typical triathlon weather. All summer we had been training in 90 and 100 degree weather with the sun beating down on us...but not the morning of the race.

I ate my small breakfast in the hotel room and double checked my race bag to make sure I had everything I needed. My wetsuit, running shoes, swim cap, goggles, Gu's (nasty gel stuff you eat during the race for nutrition), water, helmet, PowerBar, Gatorade, socks, etc. At 4:15 am the team met downstairs in the hotel lobby and went to transition 2 (the area where we drop off our bikes after the bike ride and start running). Transition 2 was at The American Airlines Center. This particular race was a point to point race, which means it starts at one place and ends at a different place. This race started at Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie and ended at The American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. So, we dropped off all our running gear at the AA Center and got on a bus with other race participants and made the drive to Joe Pool Lake. At this point, the rain was coming down pretty hard and I was bundled up in sweat pants and a fleece jacket. I knew this race was going to be more difficult than I expected, considering the weather conditions.
Once we arrived to Joe Pool Lake, the reality really hit hard. It was still raining, it was in the 50's, and there was fog hanging over the lake. I headed to the spot where my bike was. I made sure my tires were filled and everything was set up for my bike ride. We had to wait a long 2 hours before the race even started. About 20 minutes before my wave was schedule to start, I put on my wetsuit and ate a Gu. I made my way closer to the starting line. The first group to start off were the proffessionals. These were people who have participated in major triathlons and who actually were paid to do triathlons as a living. They finished the race in just a couple hours...that's AMAZING.

The announcer called the 25-29 women group and we entered the water in groups of four. Fog was still so heavy that I could barely see the giant, yellow buoys that we were supposed to swim to. As I entered the 70 degree water, choppy water, I was beggining my first olympic distance triathlon...the race I've been training for, for 5 months. I expected the water to be freezing, but it was actually warmer than the air. I finished my swim in about 34 minutes. It was longer than I wanted, but considering that I couldn't really see where I was going, I was okay with the time. During the swim, I was kicked in the head several times and someone even grabbed onto my foot at one point. I kept going though and finally reached the boat ramp and ran out of the water. As I was running, I unzipped my wetsuit so by the time I finally made it to my bike, about 50 yards from the lake, I pulled it off and put on my shoes and helmet and made my way to the starting line for the bike.

I hopped on my bike, still dripping with water, and freezing because the wind was blowing and it was still only in the 50's. I had short bike shorts on and my Team in Training sleeveless triathlon jacket or long sleeves. I was FREEZING. The first 15 miles of the bike ride were really rough. We had to ride over the lake dam where the wind was really blowing hard. It wouldn't have been too bad but it was still raining and it showed no signs of stopping. Immediatly after we crossed the dam, we were greeted with some big hills...hills are NOT my forte. They actually make me quite grumpy to say the least. This was the biggest challenge for me in the race. Not the rain, not the cold, not the wind, not the fact that I was frozen numb from head to toes. It was the first 15 miles of the bike. At this point I was NOT happy. I wanted to be DONE. The moment that changed my mood for the rest of the race was when another participant passed me (going way faster than I was) and yelled "Keep it up Alison!" (Our team had written the name of the person we were doing the race for on the back of our jersey for the race and he assumed my name was Alison). After he yelled that, I remembered who I was doing this for and that I was going to finish the race with a smile on my face and I was going to fight to the end because that is exactly what Alison did. After that guy called me Alison and cheered me on, I counted 9 other times people called me Alison. Some yelled "Awesome job Alison!" or "Go Alison!" It really kept me going and kept a smile on my face. Also, when people saw my Team in Training jersey they would yell "Go TEAM!"...and I yelled "Go Team! Wooohoo!!" back at them.

Finally, the AA Center was in sight, so I knew my 25 mile bike ride was coming to an end. As I was coming to the line where I had to dismount from my bike, there were about 200 people cheering everyone on. It was awesome! I got off my bike and ran it to the spot where I had put my running gear earlier that morning. I took off my helmet quickly drank some Gatorade and was off on my 6.4 mile run. Not only were my legs wobbly from being on the bike, which is expected, but my feet were numb from the cold weather and rain. I felt like my toes were scrunched up under my feet. It was a weird feeling. I ran around the AA Center and as I began to run on the Katy Trail, I saw my parents, Ashley and Ryan, Chris, Kristin and her boyfriend Justin cheering me on. Ashley and Ryan yelled out "Boomerrrr!!!" and I screamed "Soonerrr!" as loud as I could and held my finger in the air.

After the 2nd mile, I started to warm up. The run was much easier than I expected. The rain had finally stopped and I knew I was on the final stretch of the race and I couldn't slow down and I refused to walk during the run. I had a smile on my face the whole time I was running. Everytime I saw someone run by with a Team in Training jersey on, I yelled "Go Team!" and they proudly yelled the same back at me. At the last mile of the run, I saw a woman from the Dallas Team in Training. The back of her jersey had "Dad" written on it and the date that he passed away from was just earlier this year. My heart broke for her but I also thought it was SO amazing that she was doing this for him. We talked with each other the last leg of the race and when we saw the AA Center and the finish line, we both sped up. A lady yelled from the side "GO TEAM! GO TEAM! YEAH!!" I also passed my family again and they were cheering as I ran across the finish line with my arms as high up as I could get them and with a HUGE smile on my face. I finished in goal was 3:30, so I beat it!!

As cold and rainy it was on race was one of the best experiences of my life. The last 5 months finally came together in those few hours. The training, the fundraising, the great friendships. I knew after crossing the finish line, it wasn't going to be the end. This is my and racing for a cause.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Gabey Boy!!!

Happy Birthday Gabe!!! You have made the last 2 years, 9 months and 16 days the most enjoyable, funny, weird, and happiest time of my life. I pray that we will have atleast 15 more years together. You make me smile EVERY single time I look at you. You have given me memories that will last the rest of my life.

You make me laugh atleast 50 times a day. I love that you follow me everywhere...even when I get out of bed to go to the bathroom at 2 in the morning. I love that sometimes when you howl, it sounds like you are saying "Erinnnnnnn." I love when I come home, you greet me by putting your front paws on my shoulders and giving me a big kiss. I love how when I tell you to sit, you bark at me instead. I love that you get mad and bite me when I sing to you. I love that you think it's your job to lick the soap off my arms and face when I take a bath. I love that if I don't take you for a walk, you let me know by standing in front of me and howling. I love how big you are. I love how when we wrestle, you bite my arm and try to drag me around. I love how you watch t.v. with me. I love how you stick your head in the door so I can't shut it if I go in a room without you. I love how you wait by the bedroom door for me whenever you want to go to bed. I love how you think babies are snacks. I love your giant ears, head and nose. I love how you sound like Chewbacca when you get excited. I love how excited you get when you are about to eat, because I get that excited when I eat too. I love how you can cheer me up when I'm upset. I love how you figured out how to open the door to the room I'm in. I love how when you get excited, you gallop around like a horse. I love how you act like I'm the most important person in your world...because I am!

Some of my favorite memories since we became best friends are:

1. Seeing you run and do a flip onto your dog bed when you were a little puppy...that was the weirdest thing ever and Mom and I laughed so hard.

2. When you somehow got into mom and dad's neighbor's backyard and wandered into her kitchen -- she was scared of you!
3. When Chris and I took you, Chase and Dakota skiing, and you played in the snow and went crazy.

4. Watching you go crazy at doggie splash day and trying to steal all the treats.

5. When Tex growls at you so you put your paw on his head rub it, like you are telling him "'s ok, I'm your cousin."

6. The day I we met and we fell asleep on the couch and you slept on my stomach for a couple hours.

7. When you were a puppy, how you would crawl under Annie and it would really frustrate her. And how you liked when Annie's tail would hit you in the face.

8. The many, many times you wouldn't look where you were walking and you would walk straight into a wall.

9. The time when we were all at mom and dad's house, sitting in the living room having a conversation, and you sat your butt down on the edge of the couch like you were part of the conversation too.

10. When we were going for a walk and a kid thought you were a warewolf.

I love you Gabey boy!!! Happy Birthday!!!

-The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hit Me Britney One More Time!

This past Friday was one of the BEST nights...EVER!!!! Ashley, Kristin and I saw Britney's Circus Tour. It was me and Ashley's 2nd time to see this tour and our fourth Britney concert over the past 10 years. It was Kristin's first EVER Britney concert. Let me tell you...this by far was the BEST Britney concert, complete with food, drinks, dancing, screaming, singing, and a LOT more food.

To start the night off we met at my parent's house to get all girlied up. Then from there we went to Chili's for happy hour and for chips and queso. Ashley dropped a blob of queso on her dress, but luckily it blended in. After a couple rounds we were off to the train station. Buying the train tickets from the kiosk at the station always turns out to be a stressful experience. A word of advice...make sure to use exact change or be ready to carry around a big handful of quarters and golden dollars.

We were definatly the loudest people on the train and we got a lot of looks when we were singing "Gimme Gimme More" over and over. But what can we say? We were the only TRUE Britney fans on the train. Right girls?

When we arrived at The American Airlines Center we decided to head straight to the Rum and Cigar Bar. We agreed earlier that day that we didn't mind if we missed the opening act - Jordin Sparks. So, we hungout at the bar for a little bit before heading over to the AA Center.

Once we walked into the AA Center we couldn't help but scream in pure delight. This was the night we've all been waiting for since June! Once we got to our seats we screamed even more and couldn't stop! We had AWESOME seats. We were on the first level, about 15 rows back. It was GLORIOUS!!! We would randomly scream and yell "Oh my gosh! I can't believe we're this close!!!"

Between Jordin Spark's performance and Britney, there was a three-ringed circus act. It was very cool and entertaining and a great way to fill the time.

Finally, the countdown clock on the big screen read "O:OO Left Until The Circus". YAY! YAY! YAY! The red curtains rose and there she was. BRITNEY!!!!!!!!!!! She opened with Circus...there were lights, fire, dancers, midgets, awesome was AMAZING. Britney looked AWESOME too...she was dancing like crazy and didn't stop till the end. She puts on the BEST show. She even did a cover of Alanis Morrissette's "You Oughtta Know". LOVED IT.

Britney performed for about an hour and a half, not slowing down the whole time. There were tons of costume changes, lots of fire and explosions, lights and awesome dancers. It was everything I hoped for and WAY more.

After the show, of course we were all excited but also a little sad that it was over. So, once we got off the train we decided to cheer ourselves up with a little midnight say the least. $40 later, we feasted on Taco Cabana AND Whataburger - they owe me 2 orders of fries by the way and I'm not going to forget it! It was a good way to end an AWESOME night.

If you ever get the chance to see Britney in concert I would HIGHLY recommend it. Gather a couple of your favorite girls, get dressed up, do a little pre-partying, scream a lot, and end the night with a schmorgesborg from two or three fast food restaurants of your choice. You won't regret it!

Now begins the countdown until the next Britney concert...I will NEVER be too old for Brit!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Doggie Splash Day!!!

This past Saturday was "Doggie Splash Day" at Splash waterpark in Bedford. Since they close the waterpark after Labor Day, they allow dogs to come in and play in the waterpark, because they will have to drain the pool anyways. So, Chris and I took 3 of our 7 dogs to Doggie Splash Day. The lucky pups were Socks, Chase, and Gabe (ofcourse).

The dogs on the way to the waterpark (Socks, left, Chase, middle, Gabe, right)

When we arrived to the waterpark, Socks and Chase were very calm. Gabe, however, was VERY excited. He was dragging me everywhere. He was barking, howling, and whining at every dog he saw. I finally got him to calm down and to patiently wait for the waterpark to open (with the help of a few treats).

When the waterpark opened, nervously, I let Gabe off his leash. He immediatly ran right into the shallow pool and was jumping in and out like a furry dolphin. He ran as fast as he could, only stopping briefly to sniff other dogs. I could not keep up with Gabe. He was going CRAZY. He was running so fast that he ran straight into the deep pool and freaked out because he doesn't like to swim where he can't touch. He tried to pull himself out on the wall, but wasn't successful. I tried to pull him out but he weighs 110 pounds so it wasn't happening. Then a guy was nice and pushed Gabe out. But this didn't stop him...he kept running as fast as he could, but back to the safety of the shallow pool. Luckily, I caught up with him just as he was stopping to take an aquadump and pointed him towards the grassy area. He did his duty and was off again.

At this point, Chris was hanging out with Chase and Socks. Chase LOVES the water, so he decided to hop in the lazy river for a swim, but was swimming backwards, against the flow of the water. About 30 minutes into it, our three dogs decided to hangout together...they went down some slides, stole a little boy's ball, begged people for treats, Gabe knocked over a little boy and licked a baby's foot, Chase pooped in the fountain, and they met lots of new dog friends, including a dog named Annie who looks just like Annie Melson :)

Doggie Splash Day is a GENIUS idea. It was by far, one of the happiest day of Gabe's life and Chris and I got some really good laughs out of it. Of course on the way home they passed out and were exhausted for the rest of the day, so I liked it for that reason too. If there was a waterpark exclusively for dogs, I would take them EVERY weekend. I love my dogs so much and I love seeing them so happy and having so much fun!