Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Halloween Group Costume

imageThis year for Halloween my fiancé, his cousin, her husband and I have decided to go with a group Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume. My fiancé will be the group leader Leonardo, I’ll be the goofy Michelangelo, our cousin will be the nerdy Donatello, and her husband will be the hot tempered Raphael. Now because the boys aren’t too crafty and she’s still in college I’ve offered to make all do the costumes. This will also help with the continuity between characters. I’ve been basing our costumes off of this cartoon, rather than the live movies. Also, because it’s pretty badass.

I have created a separate post for each element if you’d rather see a specific or shorter post. It’s the exact same content per section.

As a bonus, there’s also a short post on how I made a Splinter costume for my dog.

The Chest Muscles

The chest pieces were actually much easier than expected. For them I used:

  • 2mm 18″ x 12″ foam sheets in two shades of brown/tan
  • scissors
  • basic Elmer’s glue
  • Brown duct tape

For the girls chest plates I had to tape two foam sheets (four for the boys as shown) together long ways and sketched out the chest shape. After doing this with one color it’s easier to just trace it over to the other. The picture shown was a stencil of my size chest plate on a boy sized sheet.


Once you have the lighter and darker pieces cut out you can decide where you want your muscles. Them, cut up the lighter pieces and trim the edges up just a tiny bit so that when you lay it back down on the darker brown that you can see it around the edges. Then glue it on.


I gave one of them a scar.


This is my mini mock up, but it’s what the big ones look like too, minus the foam belt.


Be sure to store the chest pieces flat otherwise they could warp. I taped mine to the back of my closet door because then it’d be flat and out of the way.


The Masks

The masks weren’t hard, but they were fairly time consuming. For them you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • tacky glue
  • 2mm foam sheets – I found a pack of foam sheet masks and used them as my model
  • fabric – I found plain t-shirts on sale in each color for $3 at Michael’s

The first step was to take the pre-made masks and adjust them to better fit normal faces. This meant to turn them upside down from what they’re supposed to be and cut some more room out for the nose.


Next I cut off a strip of fabric wider than the mask off of the bottom of the t-shirt. Then, because it’s in a ring, cut it so it becomes just a strip. Next step is to smother one side of the foam mask with glue and stick the fabric to it. Then fold over the edges of the fabric and glue them down. You may have to do some trimming. Do the same with the eyes. To avoid having potentially scratchy and irritating fabric and glue on faces I decided to glue down another trimmed up foam sheet mask to the face side of the mask.


While the glue is drying I found it helps to keep the mask on your face to keep that rounded shape. But be sure to wipe any excess glue off before you put it on your face.



Sorry I didn’t take more how to pictures of this along the way.


The Shells

Now the shells were a little tricky to start, but once I had a plan it got easier. You’ll need:

  • duct tape
  • large pieces of cardboard
  • hot glue gun
  • spray paint
  • paint
  • paint brushes or sponges
  • utility box knife
  • cutting sheet/board
  • elastic 1″-1.5″
  • tacky glue

Fortunately for me, my fiancé can get very large pieces of cardboard for free, but there are plenty of places that will give you big cardboard boxes for free. Try places that sell large appliances (i.e. fridges, ovens, large car parts). Measure the shell wearer with their arms down from the outside of one arm, across their back, and to the outside of their other arm. Then from their neck to the bottom of their butt. Cut out a rectangle of cardboard and add two-ish inches to your previous measurements. So, my fiancé measured 22″ x 32″ and his piece of cardboard was 25″ x 34″. Keep in mind that my fiancé is 6’6″ so don’t base your measurements off of his. I’m 5’7″ and mine was 22.5″ x 32″. Next make lines about 4″ in around the entire shell rectangle.


You’ll then want to make lines in the corners, diagonally, where you’re going to cut (as seen above). Then also on each short side directly in the middle. On the long side you’ll need to make two lines evenly spaced out within the 4″ margins, so that 26″ space of the 34″. Cut along those lines. You’ll then need to slightly overlap those cuts so that it causes the shell to bubble a little bit. Duct tape them to keep them where you want them.


Trim the corners so they’re round. It should look like this now.


The next step is to begin cutting out the pieces you want to use for the shell decoration. After doing some googling it seemed that hexagons were the way to go. Being more geometric actually made it easier. Now, these aren’t perfect hexagons by any means, but the three middle ones are all the same size.


I was also able to use the remnants of the hexagons to make the other shapes for the shell.


I also found that it helped to prearrange the pieces on the cardboard shell to make sure I had enough and that they would all fit together.


It might even help to do some sort of paint by numbers method, where you trace the piece on to the shell, then number each so you can glue it on later. This helps ensure that you know where your pieces are going, which will reduce any potential mess ups. My fiancé’s shell is getting a scar.


Once I had everything where I wanted it, it was time to hot glue it all down. I did learn at the painting process that some of the pieces wanted to come loose and had to be reglued down. So extra glue is not a bad thing.


From that point I knew I didn’t want the cardboard color to be the shell color so I looked up spray paints that appear to have some texture. I discovered Krylon’s Natural Stone spray paint. Pebble looked the most turtle shell-y to me so that’s what I got. I had to use the entire can on just my sized shell, so stock up on your craft store coupons. You can see where some of the pieces have popped up a little. And learn from my mistakes, if you do go with the outline and number system that I did, don’t use a sharpie because it takes more paint to cover that up. Just use a normal pen or pencil.


After a lot of fretting over the lightness of my shell color I decided to stick with it and paint in the shell plate cracks with a green/black mix to give it a more defined, turtle-y look.


And don’t worry if the edges get a little sloppy, the imperfect edges make it a little more realistically turtle looking. It only looks iffy up close.


I found some soft green elastic at Jo-Ann’s to use for the straps to attach the shell to the people. It was fairly easy too. They were attached similarly to backpack straps. I used tacky glue and duct tape to make sure the straps stuck. A good way to find the placement of the straps is to have someone hold the shell for you and just make a dot right under your armpit.




The Weapons

The weapons were probably the easiest part of this entire costume/project.

You’ll need:

  • fabric in red, orange, purple, and blue
  • tacky glue
  • dowel rod
  • 2 nunchucks
  • 2 sais
  • 2 katanas

I didn’t take many pictures along the way, but it’s all pretty easy. I found the dowel rod at Home Depot for $4 then the nunchucks, sais, and katanas on Amazon all for pretty cheap. As a heads up though, when you order your weapons online make sure it actually comes with two. Most will show two in the picture, but it’s actually only selling one.

You’ll start by figuring out where you want your fabric, which is usually where you will be holding the weapon. Cut a strip of your colored fabric, I used leftovers from the masks, and begin to tacky glue it to the weapon. It’ll look messy at first, but once the glue dries it will look fine.


Once you’re all done with gluing on your fabric strips let the glue dry over night. Then, enjoy!


I would’ve liked to have wrapped the entire nunchuck handles in the orange fabric, but I didn’t have enough. If you plan accordingly you can do that. Also, I know the sais and katanas are supposed to be more silver, but we were going for cheap but still gets the point across. If you’re feeling it you could always paint them more silver, and stain the dowel rod darker, and paint the nunchucks brown.


The Elbow and Knee Pads and the Belts

The elbow and knee pads are made exactly the same way, just different sizes. And I’ve included the belts in this section, because it wasn’t enough work to get it’s own section.

You’ll need:

  • scissors
  • sewing machine (or needle and thread)
  • 1.5″ elastic
  • 3/4″ elastic
  • brown leathery looking fabric – 2 yds
  • plain brown fabric
  • cheap stuffing
  • a ruler or some type of measurement device

I purchased two yards of a faux leather looking fabric to use for the elbow and knee pads and the belts. I started by cutting out the belts, which were the full 2 yards in length and 4″ in width. This way they’re thick enough to be significant, but thin enough to tie in a knot. I cut out six just in case there were some belts that weren’t long enough, then I could just sew two together. And also because Leonardo has a strap that goes over his shoulder along with the one around his waist.


Next, for the elbow and knee pads. These were made almost exactly the same way so the pictures are interchangeable. There is one difference that I will mention shortly.

I measured my fiancé’s knees and elbows and mine and decided on a happy medium, because I was trying to mass produce these so they were going to be the same size for everyone. I decided on 5″x6″ for the knees and 3″x4″ for the elbows. I even made templates out of cardboard to help me cut out the right size fabric. Although I didn’t have that much extra around the edges when I cut mine out.


Because I made the costumes for all four of us, I cut out 8 pieces of both the leather and plain brown fabric each for the elbows and knees. The next steps was to match them up and sew up the long sides.



I then opened up one of the shorter sides and inserted the elastic about 1/3″ in and sewed up that side. I used 11″ of 1.5″ elastic for the knee pads and 8″ of 3/4″ elastic for the elbow pads. I found both at Walmart.



I then stuffed it, but not so it would be too full, just to give it some dimension. Then I inserted the other end of the elastic in to the open side and sewed that up as well.



There is where I ended with the elbow pads. Although I would’ve liked to add the accent lines, my sewing machine couldn’t handle it so I called it good.


For the knee pads I wanted to add the accent lines so that it would look like there were three sections like my example picture up top. To do this I simply sewed across the top of the knee pads I had just made. Keep the good side up when you sew because stuff will pop out a little on the side that’s on the bottom. It’s normal, just not so attractive on the good side.





When you sew these lines across the top keep in mind that I am not a perfectionist. The padding wasn’t all the way in the corners so some of them are a little flatter. And because the pads are stuffed it made it a little trickier to sew in straight lines. If you are a perfectionist, I’m sure you will find a way to make everything symmetrical, but it’s not the easiest thing and I just wasn’t worried about it.


Our party isn’t until tomorrow, but here’s my finished Mikey costume. Check back on Sunday for group pictures and full costume shots.


October 31, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Projects, Stories. 1 comment.

Post Proposal Balloons

Joe proposed using balloons on the ceiling with pictures of us on the end. They were helium, but couldn’t hold the weight of the pictures and remain on the ceiling. To solve that he taped them to the ceiling. It was perfect.

At about 4:30am that next morning I hear a ‘tht’ followed two seconds later by a ‘ffffth.’ I finally figured out what it was when a balloon fell on me while I was try to fall back asleep. I don’t know what it was about 4:30am that morning, but about a third of the balloons came down in a 20 minute time span. And they left the tape on the ceiling. Anyway, this is what our room looked like the next morning.


November 16, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Stories, Wedding Related. Leave a comment.

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

2009: The year of the baby15741_1278489763098_4059291_n

2010: The Simpsons


2011: X-Men Evolution Storm


2012: The Pirate


2013: Gettin’ Sithy With It



November 11, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Just Talking, Projects, Stories. Leave a comment.

My Ugly Uggs

Everyone hates Uggs. They’re ugly and girls seem to only wear them with leggings, which are not pants. Then my dad got me a pair. He had a friend that was moving to Arizona; she asked him if I wore the same shoe size as her and I did. So she sold her barely worn Uggs to my dad for $5. Talk about an awesome deal.

At first I didn’t like them. They were ugly and awkward and I was too cool for boots then. I wore my Chuck Taylor’s year round. After having them sit around for a year I finally decided to wear them. Turns out they were rather comfortable and incredibly warm, which is great because my feet are always cold and I hate being cold. They are my everything-but-fashionable winter boots. They’re my snow boots and my lazy, but cold day boots and my slip on to run to the mailbox boots. Since I have had them, 2005ish, I have had to stitch them back up more times than I can count. But those boots are still comfy and warm and still hold together thanks to carpet thread, a small yarn needle, and some fabric glue.


November 9, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . Just Talking, Stories. Leave a comment.

A Very Star Wars Halloween

This year I made Joe and I Jedi and Sith costumes for Halloween. I didn’t take pictures as I sewed, but the cloak pattern I used was from this website. I used about four yards of fabric. Save your JoAnn’s coupons for it. Joe’s robe thing was a pretty quick throw together. Just a few strips sewn together, poorly too. I told him if he ever wanted to be a Jedi again I would make him something better.

1391473_939403288192_1619710438_nMy costume included:

  • black faux leather leggings
  • black faux leather boots
  • black tank top
  • black drape-y cardigan
  • black lacy vest
  • black faux leather belt
  • black Jedi robe
  • red lightsaber

1454977_939403387992_2076082180_nJoe’s costume included:

  • brown pants
  • brown and tan robe thingy
  • tan t-shirt
  • brown belt
  • blue lightsaber

November 5, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Just Talking, Projects, Stories. Leave a comment.

My Baby Birdies

When we finally decided to take down one of Christmas wreaths that was still up in March we found that a bird had started to build a nest so we left it up.


photo 2

photo 3

photo 4




Now they’re gone and I’m experiencing empty nest syndrome.

May 15, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . News, Stories. Leave a comment.

Black Nail Polish Fiasco

One of Lily’s bottles of nail polish jumped out of the cabinet this evening. It got everywhere. The floor, the sink, her shirt, the wall, under the vanity, and even a streak inside the mirror. She had to clean it up with cotton balls, a tooth brush, paper towels, and a whole lot of nail polish remover. And of course it happened at 11:30pm on a school night.

When mom saw it all she could say was, “It just had to be black.”






April 22, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.

Life Achievement

photoToday I got into Michigan State University’s Masters of Social Work program. It’s being run through SVSUs campus so I don’t even have to move. I’m so excited! I believe it starts this July.

I’ve also lost ten pounds in the last month and a half, looked at engagement rings with Joe and will graduate Summa Cum Laude in May.

This is my year.

February 7, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . News, Stories. Leave a comment.

Six Years

Joe and I are celebrating six years together today. It’s very exciting. I never thought I would find the person I want to be with for the rest of my life so young. Joe makes me the happiest girl in the world.


June 11, 2012. Tags: , , . Just Talking, News, Stories. Leave a comment.

Nerdy Shows

Joe and I have taken a liking to watching more nerdy tv shows together. So far we’ve watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is now my favorite cartoon ever (I love Zuko). And Firefly, which Joe was reluctant to watch at first but is now sad that it’s over. Currently we are watching Dragon Ball Z because it’s on Hulu. I’m excited for the episodes with Cell because I remember watching those when I was little.


November 14, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Just Talking, Stories. Leave a comment.

Evil Dr. Vacuum

Dr. Vacuum is the evil mechanical menace that Sneakers tries to defeat for us. He does a pretty good job at fighting him off. He waits, then he attacks!

November 6, 2011. Tags: , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Mary loves photography. A lot. I’m not sure where she got the idea, but she decided that she wanted to have a photo scavenger hunt. She got a list of things to find together about six months ago so that she would forget what they were. On the day of the hunt we all met at her apartment and split in to three groups of four. We were each given a list of things to get pictures of, most including ourselves. Each item on the list was given a point value, some with bonuses and every picture had a 5+ points if all four members of the group were in it. We were then give just over two hours to drive around town and get the pictures. We’re thinking this is going to become an annual event. Anyway, here are some of the pictures.

Frolicking through a garden (+10 for every member clicking their heels)

Sit with a family while they're eating dinner (bonus points for thumbs up)

Stealing candy from a child (bonus points if they're crying)

Team wearing lampshades/Team playing Twister

A member in the back of a police car (+100 if they handcuffed you, but she wouldn't)

Outside of a fire station

Everyone inside a trunk

A Sidewalk Tragedy

August 7, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Stories. 1 comment.

Who Wants Pig?

It’s a tradition in Joe’s family to roast a pig at his family get togethers. And I mean the whole pig. However, this only holds true for the warm weather events, like the Fourth of July and graduation parties. Normally the pig is roasted and when the meat is being carved up we have a normal plate and a BBQ sauce smothered plate on the food table for people to choose from. This Fourth of July I actually got a before and after picture. In the first picture is the party host, Uncle Andy. In the second picture is the mostly eaten pig.

July 10, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Recipes and Other Food Stuff, Stories. Leave a comment.

Five Years or Half a Decade

Five years ago Joe and I started dating. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago but when I think about it it really is a long time. It also got me thinking. Five years is half a decade. I’m only two decades old. That means that I have spent a quarter of my life with Joe. It has definitely been the most fun quarter.

He makes me the happiest girl in the world.

June 11, 2011. Tags: , , , . News, Stories. 1 comment.

Spanish or Español

I knew when I was little that I wanted to learn a foreign language. It wasn’t until middle school that I was allowed to take a language. I wanted to take French. I ended up taking a semester of German though because French wasn’t available. Then in high school I decided that Spanish was a better idea than French because, well, Spanish is far more common in the United States than French.

My freshman year of high school I had the new teacher. It was his first year teaching Spanish so he wasn’t especially awesome. However, my sister has that same teacher now and she thinks he’s pretty good. Then, for Spanish 2 and 3 I had the same teacher. She was… interesting. Needless to say, I didn’t learn a whole lot in those two years. My senior year I had the greatest teacher. I actually learned in his class. Unfortunately, he retired after my senior year so my sister won’t be lucky enough to have him.

I decided that I wanted to minor in Spanish. I tested out of the first level, out of four, of college level Spanish. I began with Spanish 102. Then I took 201 and 202, but somewhere in there I skipped a semester because I didn’t like the professor and my schedule wouldn’t allow me to get in to a different Spanish class. Fall of 2010 I was going to be able to start taking electives at SVSU but when I got in to my elective class I realized that it was way over my head so I decided to re-take 202, or 212 at SVSU. Then, I decided it was no longer my minor.

Long story short, my Spanish professor doesn’t believe in exams so instead of having a final we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant. He made us order in Spanish, but that wasn’t tough. So this was my last Spanish exam.

April 26, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Just Talking, Recipes and Other Food Stuff, Stories. Leave a comment.

Summer: How It Was And How It Will Be

When I was little we would spend weeks at a time at our cottage. I didn’t have a job because I was little and my mom could get a fair amount of time off.

Backstory – My family has had a cottage since way before I, or even my mom, was born. It was my grandpa’s family’s cottage and now the three parts of my family go. It’s on the thumb between Caseville and Port Austin. It’s right on Lake Michigan too. And not the “right on the lake” where you have to walk a few blocks to get to the lake, we walk over our front lawn and down a we’re touching sand.

Since I had my first job, in 2008, I haven’t been going as much. Work makes it tricky to go especially because I like getting hours and therefore money. I always happen to be the youngest wherever I have worked during the summer so I always am the last to be able to get hours off during the summer.

This upcoming summer will be different. Hopefully I will have a job, or two, by then. I am also taking six credits worth of classes during the Spring and Summer semesters. The Spring semester classes are at 7-10pm Monday through Thursday. The Summer classes start at 3:30 and end at 10pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. I won’t have a real summer vacation, but I’m knocking off twelve credits which is a normal semester in less time. Hopefully I can get in to the Social Work program in the Fall of 2012 because of this which would lead me to graduate in May of 2013. That would definitely be awesome.

Anyway, I’m trying to convince my mom to buy an inflatable pool so that I can still swim and relax in some water in the sun on my free time.

April 10, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Just Talking, Stories. Leave a comment.

A Dog, Six Birds and Four Fish

Throughout my life I have had a few pets. If you add them all together I’ve had 11 different pets.

The first was Sweetie. He was a parakeet that we had when I still lived in Utah. This was way back before my sister was even born. My dad found him outside of a super market and brought him home. He would play around on my fingers and like to fly on top of a painting we had to poop on the frame. I can’t remember why we got rid of him, but we gave him to someone else that could take care of him.

The rest of the pets came in once we moved in to our house in Saginaw. I won three fish at my elementary school’s fun fair. One of them was eaten right away and I was left with the biggest and the smallest one. The little one died after a month, but the bigger one lasted a year. It died when we went out of town for a week and the neighbors replaced it for me. Then I went out of town again with my dad and it died in my moms care and she didn’t replace it.

Sneakers was our next pet. He’s my fluffy baby boy. We got him in April of 2002 and he’s been sleeping on our couches since. In fact, that’s exactly what he’s doing right now.

Next we bought two more parakeets. One that looked just like Sweetie and a blue one. One was mine and one was my sisters, although I can’t remember which was which. We named them Tiger and Charlie. They were nice birds. One got stuck behind our bookcase at one point, but mom saved him with some climbing rope. Then one day they died. We’re not quite sure what killed them, we think the food, but we came home one day and they were both dead. We decided to put them in a shoe box and buried them in the back yard. We even marked their grave with a big rock.

After Tiger and Charlie died I didn’t want any more birds. Mom did. She went out and bought three finches. My gosh those birds were annoying. They never ever shut up. They were cute, but I didn’t want them and Lily didn’t seem to care either way. I eventually talked my mom in to taking them back to the store. Who would have guessed you can return a bird.

Most recently, in May of last year, Joe and I decided we wanted some fish babies. So we asked Joe’s sister’s boyfriend, a fish aficionado, about what kind of fish is easy to take care of. We decided on the rosy barb. They like to hid behind their log and dance in the corner of the tank.

I’m sure that in the future there will be more pets, but ask of now, there is only Sneakers, Bingo, and Mr. Bubbles and I’m okay with that.

March 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Just Talking, Stories. Leave a comment.


Ever since I was little I have loved Cheerios. I am now 20 years old and still eat them for breakfast and sometimes other meals during the day. I’ve never really been a huge fan of sugary cereals which is probably why I like Cheerios so much.

For as long as I can remember we have never not had them in the house. There is always at least one box. However, there’s always three or four unopened boxes sitting in our pantry. Even during the two years that I wasn’t leaving at home both of my parents and I always made sure I always had a box.

The best part about Cheerios? Because the flavor is plain they’re good with most fruits.

  • grapes
  • dried cherries
  • banana slices
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • grapefruit on the side

March 13, 2011. Tags: , , , . Just Talking, Recipes and Other Food Stuff, Stories. Leave a comment.

Star Wars Love

A New Hope is, by far, my favorite movie ever. It’s one of those movies that almost everyone sees as a child and grew up liking. Well, except me. I didn’t see it

All designs were once sold on teefury.com

until I was 18 and my new found college friends made me watch it. Not that I didn’t want to, I just never got around to it. Well, it was instant love. I have since seen it many more times and now have managed to own four copies of it, but that’s a whole different story.

I am now the proud owner of all six movies, including the original theatrical versions of the original trilogy, five Star Wars shirts, two pairs of Star Wars pajama pants, a Darth Vader movie poster and a Darth Vader plush doll. Many of these were gifts, but I do love me some Star Wars.

Of course, this love of Star Wars made me interested in the animated version, The Clone Wars. I’ve seen the movie and the first season of the show so far. The movie wasn’t all that great but I was surprised by the show. It was better than I expected.

Monday night I decided I wanted to finally get around to watching all six episodes in a row, in a day. I’m laid off and on Spring Break so this week seemed like a good time. So on Tuesday I got up at noon, took a shower and was watching Episode I by 12:30pm. The only time I really paused any of them, besides for bathroom breaks, was during Episode III when Joe came over for dinner and we ate with my mom and sister. He then watched the rest of it with me because it’s his favorite Episode. When I finally got done with all six movies it was darn near 3am. I’d say it was a day well spent. And I did it all while wearing my Admiral Ackbar shirt from Teefury and the Star Wars pajama pants Joe got me for Christmas.

March 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Just Talking, Stories. Leave a comment.

Mr. Sneakers

Sneakers is our baby. We’ve had him since he was four months old so he’s grown up with us and we’ve grown up with him. He loves his squeaky toys, specifically the squeaky carrot, he loves to beg, and he loves to jump. Unfortunately, he loves to jump.

Sneakers is a bichon frise, shih tzu and yorkie mix so he’s little a furry. He also has an underbite and sits with his front paws facing out. As he got a little older we noticed that he had an unusually long back. We’re not sure which breed he got it from, but he has it. This has given him some problems in the past. It used to be just that he would whimper when jumping off of the couch and not being able to jump on anything.

Then at the end of last November he had some more severe pain. He couldn’t jump or even go up one step. It even hurt him to walk because he was having problems with his back legs. He went to the vet where we learned he has a slipped disk. The drugs that the vet gave him didn’t do anything but stop the pain. Then mom decided to try something new. She took him to an acupuncturist and when he came home mom set down the basket he’d been in and he hoped right out. We were amazed how much it helped him.

Two days ago his back started hurting again. He would still walk around but he preferred lying on his big red pillow. Then yesterday my mom noticed that he wasn’t going to the bathroom or eating, which we know is a bad sign. Then we noticed that he couldn’t even move his back legs. Mom took him to the emergency vet last night. They squeezed his toes and noticed that he couldn’t feel it. They tried it again with a forceps and he could feel it.

This morning I took him to the vet this morning and they did the same type of test except he had lost that deep pain feeling. He squeezed Sneakers toes with a pliers like tool and he didn’t even react. He explained to me that Sneakers’ slipped disk is pressing against his spinal cord causing paralysis.

I took him to the acupuncturist again and he will be going a handful more times in the next few weeks. There was a noticeable difference in his mood when we left. The acupuncturist is also a vet and she showed me how to express his bladder, or to basically squeeze the pee out of him. He’ll just poop whenever his colon in full, which he did while we were there. She also seemed to think there would be hope that he could eventually gain feeling back  in his legs. We’re going to look in to doggy wheelchairs if that doesn’t occur. He’s still a happy boy so we’re not going to give up on him.

February 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.

Dear Grand Valley Friends

Dear Grand Valley Friends,

I apologize, I’ve been a bad friend. I’m terrible at keeping in contact with you. I have made promises to come visit and have yet to do so. I could list off excuses about working on weekends and blah blah blah, but that’s lame.

I really do miss you guys. The sitting around watching movies, the comics, all of it. And I swear I really will visit and I really do want to. I just have to find the money to do it. I’m going to try to get on instant message more often and my phone is always near by and there are the various other forms of media that are useful.

I’m sorry for being so distant. I promise I’ll get better about that.

Love, Amra

January 15, 2011. Stories. Leave a comment.

Wedding Season

June was the first wedding that I went to this year. It was one of Joe’s cousins on his mom’s side. I had to work during the ceremony so I only made it to the reception, but it took place at the groom’s mom’s backyard by their pond. From the pictures it looked nice. It was a fun party. Joe even danced with me once.

The next wedding was another one of Joe’s cousins on his mom’s side in August. She even had Joe be a groomsman and he looked good in that tux. I went to the ceremony for that and it was a nice one. Between the ceremony and the reception I got to ride on the party bus with the wedding party because I was a wedding party date and the bride likes me. We stopped at a store so everyone could get their booze then we drove to Dow Gardens for wedding pictures. We ran into another wedding party that had the same color theme as ours. They did a group picture with the two brides looking like they were attacking each other. It was hilarious. The reception had some really good music and a photo booth, which was a fun addition. I have a strip of Joe and I and one with one of Joe’s little cousins and I. Then I drove the bride and groom to their hotel after stopping at Taco Bell.

Then there was the September wedding. This one was one of Joe’s uncle’s on his dad’s side. I missed that ceremony because of work, but my boss is a friend of Joe’s grandpa and went and said it was beautiful. I did make it to the reception in time though. Joe was an usher in this wedding so he was in a tux again. The food was good and every spot had a little box with two chocolate truffles in it with their initials on it. They were delicious. And they did cupcakes for dessert. However, the DJ was not good. He talked too much and at one point stopped the music and started talking to people on the dance floor. We ended up leaving early because Joe was tired and so was I from work. I also don’t have any pictures from this wedding.

The final wedding was this past weekend in Kalamazoo. It was yet another cousin from Joe’s mom’s side. We showed up Friday night around 9:30pm to find out that we had the entire third floor and half of the second floor. Needless to say there was a party. Joe, Mary, Chris and I were tired so we turned in early, but Joe’s mom partied in the hallway with her brothers and sisters until they got kicked out of the hall by the hotel. We set up a lunch buffet in the hallway on Saturday because we could. There were a handful of us that didn’t actually go to the ceremony. It was nice and short though, only 45 minutes. The reception was soon after, probably the earliest one I’ve been to. The food was probably the best of all the weddings. The mac and cheese was amazing. And the fish was good too. The place was decorated with white mini lights and tulle so it looked like snow, which was fitting. Joe even danced with me for more than a few songs. Then when we got back to the hotel after the reception at 10:30pm the grown ups started partying again. After getting kicked out of the first room they moved the party into Joe and my room. So Joe and I ended up sleeping in his mom’s bed down the hall and she slept in ours. There were some funny stories. We headed home after check out on Sunday and I lucked out and slept the entire drive home.

December 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Just Talking, Stories. Leave a comment.

Contact List Names

My sister and I find that having our normal names in our phones is boring. When we come up with a different name we change them. She has been Sharkbate Oh Haha, Harry Potter and most recently, Colonel Mustard. I have been Oprah, God, A Shark, Voldemort, and currently Freddie Mercury. It’s just something we like to do.

Funniest one was when we both changed our names to something shark related at the same time without telling each other. It was hilarious.

November 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.

Something You Might Not Know About Me

I’ve lived in Michigan since July of 1996. Most people in Saginaw generally just assume you are from Saginaw or at least Michigan. What most people don’t know is that I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah before Michigan and was born in Missoula, Montana. I’m originally a Rocky Mountains girl.

I don’t really remember much about living in either place, but I do remember mountains in Utah. However, my dad did live out in Missoula for a few years while I was in middle school and I visited him two summers in a row. One time for a month. That was also the summer when all of the forest fires were going on so it was interesting. It was absolutely beautiful out there though. We went on a 12 mile bike trail that ended in Idaho and had a mile long cave to bike through, spent a few nights in Yellowstone, went to a bison range and went white water rafting. It was a good time and I’d like to go back again. It’s too flat in Michigan.

November 7, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.


It may seem totally lame, but Joe and I like to see each other everyday even if it’s just for a few minutes. So we have this move we call a drive-by kiss where one of us stops by the others house for upwards of 10 minutes to get a kiss and a little bit of chatting in. It’s silly, but it really is nice. And sometimes that five minutes can really brighten up a bad day.

Today I didn’t have a bad day, but Joe’s was a little stressful. He had a final exam in his automatic transmission class. And he’ll be busy tonight helping his Uncle with some car thing I don’t understand, a brake booster. So tonight is a perfect night for a drive-by kiss. It’ll be just a few minutes to say hello. Besides, he gives great bear hugs. They are really nice and bear-like when the hugger is almost twice your size.

November 3, 2010. Tags: , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.

Late College Nights

I know the college experience is all about those late nights partying or those late nights studying. Well I haven’t been getting much sleep lately so this late night of studying is kicking my ass and I’m still not done. I finished two projects for my sociology class. One is a presentation that I’ll prepare for in the first part of class and the other was an online activity.

I'm not exactly organized when I study


The political science exam is what is scaring the crap out of me. It’s over a bunch of boring dead guys from the enlightenment and all of their very confusing and boring readings that I either didn’t read, or was confused as hell when reading them. 40 points of the exam are in 10 fill in the blank questions while the other 60 come from a 5 page essay we are to write in class then. However, she gave us the three topic options, and she is allowing us to write up an outline of what we’d like to say in relation to a certain theorist. And we can have his reading. So perhaps I’ll pick a theorists that I have actually read about and focus on him. I just wish we were talking about political systems instead. It would be so much easier than political ideals from the 1700s.

November 2, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.


The week was a whirlwind. We saw just about every touristy thing I can think of, rode every form of transportation except the double decker bus, and saw five different plays.

  1. Billy Elliot – about the boy that wants to dance but his dad doesn’t want him to and it was the very first performance for the boy that played Billy Elliot the night we saw it.
  2. 39 Steps – a comedy where 4 actors play over 100 characters
  3. We Will Rock You – a musical based off of music from Queen
  4. MacBeth – a play by Shakespeare that we saw at the Globe
  5. Oliver – my least favorite play

On the first day we took a tour of the Globe theater and the Shakespeare exhibition that was going on there. Then we rode the London Eye, went to a noodle bar, Waggamama’s, then we went and saw 39 Steps at the Criterion Theater.

Saturday we went to the Portobello flea market. If any of you have seen Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julie Roberts, the scene where Hugh Grant is walking through a market and the seasons change, that’s Portobello. There were so many things at such low prices. I got Joe a really nice flask for £4, then a fathers day present for my dad, earrings for my mom and a birthday present for my sister. Then lots of touristy souvenirs. There was a table where all of the scarves on it were £1, so I bought one. We then went to Abbey Road and took the touristy pictures. We went to Harrods for lunch, but it was way too crowded, and expensive, to even thinking about shopping. We went to dinner at this swanky restaurant and I had my first legal glass of wine. Then we went to MacBeth. It’s an outdoor theater and that was the only cold day and we stood for the whole play and it was almost 3.5 hours. But in the long run it was worth it to be able to say I saw a Shakespeare play at the Globe.

On Sunday we went to Stratford, which is about two hours away from London. We saw Shakespeare’s birth home and the beautiful church where he was baptized. The ride there and back was beautiful. English country side is just gorgeous and green.

On Monday we toured the Tower of London where lots of people were held prisoner, tortured and of course, beheaded. Henry VIII had 6 private beheadings there that were all women and some were his wives. We then walked over to Westminster Abbey and went inside. The architecture is beautiful, but the building is like a giant mausoleum. There are so many kings, queens and other people that are buried and honored there, including Handel, Newton and Darwin. I also got carded when we went in there. We tried to get me in as an 18 or under, but they carded me, but never for a drink. Go figure.

Tuesday we went and saw the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. After seeing that, and getting thoroughly sunburned we went to the Royal Muse, which is where the horses and carriages are kept. I got the see the eccentric golden carriage that’s used for coronations. The back wheel is taller than me and it needs 8 horses to pull it.

Wednesday we went to Kew Gardens, which was wonderfully green. And there was a butterfly garden with butterflies the size of my hand. We then took a two-ish hour boat ride, that I fell asleep on, up to Hampton Court Palace. There was a beautiful garden, a maze, a big kitchen and beautiful kings and queens quarters. My cousin and I went through the maze and we learned that it involved almost always choosing the right (as in the direction) path.

Thursday was our last full day in England. We stopped by the British Library and saw the Magna Carta, things that the Beatles wrote their songs on, like a sons first birthday card, and other old things, like music from various composers, Henry VIII prayer scroll and some of the original Alice in Wonderland books. We then went over to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone and the mummy exhibit. I was a bit disappointed because people were allowed to take pictures so all I saw were fast moving people snapping pictures rather than actually learning about what they’re looking at. It was impossible to get a decent look at the Rosetta Stone because everyone was pushing everyone out of the way. I did get one good picture though. That night we saw We Will Rock You, which is based off of music by Queen. The story was a little strange and the female lead had a nasally singing voice, but it was fun to sing along. And I got a t-shirt.

The next morning we were at the airport at 6:30am and on the plane a little after 8am. Then began the 8ish hour flight. Customs went smoothly, but I thought my luggage had been lost. Mine was just the last bag to get on to the line.

It was overall an amazing trip, but I still can’t pick my favorite part.

June 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Stories. 1 comment.


This weekend our Grand Valley Comic Book Club was lucky enough to go to C2E2, Chicago Comic Entertainment Expo. It was so exciting!

I got to meet Alex Ross, Mark Waid, Ryan Ottley, Jason Howard, Peter Mayhew and some more, but those are just the ones that I got to sign things for me.

I also bought a lot of comics. The first two trades of Invincible, the first trade of Astounding Wolf-Man, all four trades of Astonishing X-Men, the first Guild comic and the Wanted trade. Then I received a lot of free comics.

Darth Vader being a badass and me standing next to him

His backpack has jets

Peter Mayhew aka Chewbacca

Yellow Lantern Scarecrow, Green Lantern, Red Lantern

I'm in trouble

April 19, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Stories. 2 comments.

Xbox = Awesome

This past Christmas Joe decided to spoil me. He bought me an Xbox 360 Elite. I also think he ran out of jewelry ideas for me. Our first Christmas he got me a necklace, second a promise ring, then third diamond stud earrings, so why not the complete opposite for the fourth?

Since I got an Xbox I had to get an Xbox live membership so I could play Halo 3 with people all over the world. Playing with people all over the world means that I can also play with Joe on the other side of the state. A few nights a week we have video game dates. Basically what we do is party up in the Halo 3 matchmaking and find a match. The cool part about video games dates are that we don’t have to share a screen. And we can always tell the other person where the wound-y guy that just killed us is hiding.

Another cool aspect of the Xbox is the variety of video games. I have a few FPS games, Halo 3, L4D2 and COD4:MW2, a RPG, Fallout 3, and of course Lego Batman and Lego Star Wars.

Fallout 3 is definitely my favorite game of all time. It’s just an incredible game that takes place in 2277 after the nuclear fallout. Your character starts out the game by escaping the vault and entering the completely desolate wasteland. The game has incredible graphics. It’s also a great story along with a good helping of action, including the Bloody Mess perk, where sometimes when you shoot a person they explode. It’s awesome.

I’ve logged around 150 hours into a few different accounts on Joe’s Xbox and for Christmas Joe’s mom bought me the Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition, which comes with all five add on packs. I have yet to play one of the add ons. Unfortunately Fallout 3 is one of those games that I need to sit down for six hours and get completely consumed in. I can’t just play for an hour because it just goes by so fast. Because of this time flying problem I haven’t been able to play much on my Xbox because of school. Yet another reason I’m looking forward to summer… more Fallout time.

April 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Stories. 1 comment.