Posts tagged ‘holidays’

July 1, 2013

Ten Things to be Happy About 7/1

I need a healthy dose of gratitude today. It’s been one of those days where every nerve in my body seems to be agitated. From large life issues to the post office changing their lunch hour, everything I do today seems to challenge me.

So I think it’s time to sit back and find a little thanks. Life is beautiful and often far too short to be taken for granted.

 

1. Tomorrow is my last day of work this week! I’m very excited about this. Short weeks are the best!

2. Wednesday, Husband and I head to Alaska to celebrate a birthday, a wedding and the 4th of July! Below is a photo of beautiful Prince of Wales Island.

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3. I got pretty new rain boots for our trip! I just hope they fit! Cute, right? You need rain boots on the boat. It’s wet and miserable if all you have a tennis shoes.

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4. My freezer will soon be filled with fresh, wild salmon, halibut, shrimp and crab! The best part about having a family fishing lodge in Alaska is you pretty much have access to really good quality fish whenever you want it, all year round.

5. We have so many tomatoes on our plants! And we harvested two cucumbers and two jalapenos this weekend…oh, and one strawberry last week that went right into my mouth! These were the first tomatoes that popped up on our Early Girl. The plant is full of them now!

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6. I get to see my mommy this week! I haven’t seen her in almost a month.

7. I have the most amazing husband ever! Just saying… )

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8. I am alive. I’m going to stop at number eight today. Because what more matters? I have this day. I may not have tomorrow, but I have today and I’m going to stop writing now, and go out and enjoy the heck out of it!

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April 4, 2013

Getting away for a weekend

This past weekend, Jim and I were finally able to take a long weekend and do some good relaxing. Even though it meant missing Easter with the families, we took Monday off and spent the weekend at my family’s house on the coast in Northern California. It’s about the most relaxing place I’ve been. The house is beautiful, the view is unparalleled and there’s nothing like the sound of waves crashing against rock to release life’s tensions.

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Of course, we had to overcome a few obstacles before we could actually do any relaxing.

Like find a way to get propane to the house.

We arrived late on Friday night to a little blue card on the door that said the propane tank had been capped off because the account wasn’t current. We called them and apparently the card on file had been declined (we later learned it was because of a fraud alert), and of course, there was nothing they could do until Monday. So we had no heater, no stove, no HOT WATER. Until Jim came up with the brilliant idea to buy a 5 gallon tank and attach it to the line to the house.

So we went down to the cove to find propane.

And walk around the tidal flats a bit.

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And get a delicious fish burger.

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We LOOOOOOOOOOVE our fish burgers!

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Fortunately for us, the general store sold 5 -gallon propane tanks. Full. It looked pretty funny sitting next to the big tank, like it was the little brother tank learning to warm the big house.

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That problem finally under control and we were darn ready for a shower, so we go upstairs to this beauty and turn on the tap. It’s cold. Wait for it. Still cold. A few more minutes. Still like ice. So now we need to find the water heater. But there isn’t one to be found anywhere. We deduce the following: it’s tankless. So we look around some more, and finally I point to the crawl space panel on the ceiling in the master bathroom. “Maybe up there?”

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Except it’s dark, so I go back downstairs for a flashlight. Armed with the light Jim, who is the only one tall enough to even touch the panel let alone get his head into the hole, takes a peek. There are no lights on. It needs to be reset. But it’s quite a ways in there. Jim can’t reach it at all. I told him I’d go find him a poking device, head back downstairs and return with a pool cue. So Jim’s standing on the bench with the flashlight in one hand, the pool cue in another poking at a hole in the ceiling. If he’d been sufficiently clothed I totally would have taken a photo! Instead you get the tools out of place in the bathroom.

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So we take our shower and it’s amazingly luxurious. This shower is Jim’s number one reason for wanting to come to this house. We each get our own lovely shower head, plus body jets. It’s pretty amazing.

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Once we’re done with our shower (it’s about 3p.m. by this point), we’re ready for a snack, so we go back to the kitchen where we left our food on the counter only to find ants crawling all over the dirty pancake batter bowl from breakfast (I left it because it had raw egg in it and I wanted to wait to wash it until we had hot water) and heading for the rest of our food. We quickly moved it all to the kitchen island, checked everything that was open and bagged it all in freezer bags so they couldn’t get in if they found it again. Then we went about killing all the ants we could find and putting traps (which we found under the kitchen sink) by the window where they seemed to be getting in.

Ok, so we’re halfway through the first of our two full days of relaxation and finally we can sit down.

We brought a puzzle, which we put together while partaking in “adult coffees.”

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Katie lounged around the house, being lazy and trying to sneak upstairs whenever she thought we weren’t looking.

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I spent a lot of time reading Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr.  I am thoroughly enjoying it. I bought her Crazy, Sex Kitchen book a few months ago, and was so intrigued by her philosophies that I decided I needed to read Crazy, Sexy Diet too. Initially I turned away from this book because I hate the word “diet.” It’s so unfriendly. But I took a peek inside the book on Amazon, and decided it wasn’t really a diet book, so to speak and bought it anyway. It actually outlines exactly how I want to live my life in regards to what I put in my body and what I expect from it in return. I’ve been a vegetarian for eighteen years, but I feel like I’m ready to take that next step and cut out dairy, eggs and processed foods as well.

Ok, so back to the weekend. One of my favorite movies was on: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Even Jim thinks this movie is hilarious! We sat down with our “nosh” dinner and watched the movie.

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The sunsets up there are absolutely gorgeous, and we were fortunate that the clouds didn’t completely block our view either night.

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Sunday morning we again cooked breakfast on the griddle. We had propane, but we weren’t sure how for five gallons was going to get us, so we didn’t want to waste it where we didn’t need it. After breakfast we took Katie down to the black sand beach. It was really really foggy, but she enjoyed running in the sand and trying to avoid the waves, sniffing around at everything she saw.

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She was a happy pooch.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging, being lazy, doing that relaxing thing. We watched a Friends marathon, followed by a marathon of our favorite show of all time: Monk.

We made sausages (meat for him, veggie for me) on the griddle and ate them with a big salad for dinner.

After dinner we took a bath, one of my favorite parts of this house. Technically it can fit three people and has amazingly relaxing jets and changes colors and makes tons of bubbles and the freaking works. It was amazing. A glass of wine, a few chocolates and we were in heaven. Well, at least I was.

shelter cove15The blanket is up over the window because people finally moved into the house next door. The other window has the sun shade down.

Someone thought it was appropriate to light off fireworks for Easter. We weren’t complaining. They were small, but they were pretty.

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The next morning we packed up and headed home, feeling much more refreshed than when we started. I could have used a week. Maybe not there because there’s so little to do I’d get bored, but a good week vacation definitely must be in my future, hopefully sooner than later.

March 26, 2013

Playing Catch Up

It’s been over a week since I’ve posted. I know, I know. It’s not that weird. It’s sort of what I do. Erratic posting is what I’m all about. And I’m learning something: that’s just who I am. I’m messy and uncoordinated, unorganized, and I’d rather spend my time playing that cleaning.

I’m not even going to apologize about it.

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Although I must do some cleaning, because here’s an adorable photo of Katie “helping” me fold towels. The pink one is hers.

Anyway, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do, so I’m going to just get to it.

The past week has been amazingly busy, sort of intense and completely filled with fun.

I think I left you just before St. Patrick’s day. Jim and I have a tradition of Irish Car Bombs. The drink AND the cupcakes. He makes the drinks; I make the cupcakes, and we enjoy too many of both.

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But we have a lot of fun. And somehow I managed to get plenty of photos of the drinks and none of the cupcakes. I guess that’s why we should start with cupcakes?

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Sometimes I make him corned beef and cabbage. But not this year.

st pattys day3This year we had a “nosh” of shamrock shaped ravioli, tater tots with my special “tot sauce”, jalapeno poppers, spinach dip and some sliced tomatoes….for good measure. And, of course, more Guinness.

And while eating this pile of fat, carbs and calories (except for the tomatoes, of course) , we watched a documentary. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Have you ever watched one of these food documentaries? They kind of make you feel terribly guilty about the way you eat. This one was about an Australian named Joe Cross who comes to the US to do a juice “reboot” for 60 days. Over the course of the movie, and under close monitoring by doctors, he looses close to 100 lbs from drinking just juice.

So as Jim and I sat there and ate our greasy feast, something clicked. We looked at our plates, listened to our bellies and decided maybe Joe had something. Of course, we weren’t going to go 60 days on nothing but juice, but we decided to try a week. I may end up writing a separate post about our juice experience, so I won’t tell too much about it right now, but I will say I was really happy with the way it turned out. Not just because I lost a few pounds, but because I feel so much better than I have in a long time.

Our last juice day was Friday because Saturday we celebrated Jim’s sister-in-law’s 30th birthday in Napa. And there was no way we were sipping juice while everyone else sipped Pinot!

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Two of my sisters-in-law. Natalia, on the left and Stefanie, the birthday girl on the right.

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On the bus, getting the day started right! (Like my beautiful forehead in the bottom left?)

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Jim found the only lemon cupcake in the box. He’s probably going to kill me for posting this photo.

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At one of the wineries.

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The whole group of us. They rented a party bus and we spent the day touring different wineries followed by dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant in downtown Napa. Overall it was a pretty amazing day. Jim and I even managed to sneak away for a little while to visit our favorite Napa winery, Gustavo Thrace. This is the one we did the grape stomping at back in October.

January 4, 2013

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate for Christmas

This year, Christmas was hard. I already told you that part. I wasn’t in the spirit at all and we were short funds because of the house. But we still managed to give everyone something…something I thought was pretty dern awesome. And we made it ourselves.

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We made salted caramel hot chocolate! Jim made the caramel sauce and I made the hot chocolate mix and we wrapped them up together. I even stamped the little cards myself. It was a lot of fun, working with Jim and creating something special to give to all of our friends and family. And honestly, so much less stress than your usual shopping forever, wrapping late into the night and then stressing some more than people won’t like their gifts…or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I thought this hot chocolate was to die for. The caramel sauce was smooth and rich and the hot chocolate was creamy and with the addition of a little something extra, it was more than your average packet of Swiss Miss.

Hot Chocolate Mix

1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups powdered milk

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Before dividing the mix up into whatever containers you’re using (if you’re giving this as a gift), make some up and taste it. Before I got mine right, I tasted it a few times and added more cocoa powder because I like my stuff less sweet than most people, I think. Also, you can add more or even omit the cinnamon. Try other things, too. Pumpkin pie spice would make this a more spicy cocoa. I think it might be delicious to grind up some orange zest to add in. Or maybe some ground up chocolate chips to make it more chocolatey. You can also add more things as garnish.

For the salted caramel sauce, I used Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe. I’m going to just send you right over to her page because she does such an amazing job of instructing you on the process, complete with photos. I chose her recipe because she doesn’t use corn syrup. Since I had that issue with corn last year, I’ve tried to stay away from the stuff as best I can. We’ve made this recipe twice now and it has come out magnificently both times. And it’s delicious to boot! I also consulted her recipe (among others) for the hot cocoa mix when I was researching how to make it. Check that out too. That girl is amazing in the kitchen! You can always trust her recipes to come out (which cannot always be said, by the way) and be as delicious as they look in her photos.

Anyway, back to our gifts. We added cinnamon sticks and mini marshmallows as toppers, but as I said before, you can add pretty much anything that strikes your fancy. The hot chocolate powder (minus the cinnamon) would go with tons of different options: peppermint, orange, I might even try pumpkin because I love pumpkin that much.

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A little late posting, but that was our gift to people this Christmas. I think we’ll do something similar next year…making something, I mean. It was fun and I think people enjoyed it.

Does anyone else do this for Christmas? Make something for each family and/or friend?

December 30, 2012

End of one chapter, Beginning of another

I’ve written before about how anti-Resolution I am when it comes to the new year. And I maintain that position because of how particularly useless traditional resolutions are. That does not, however, mean that I am completely oblivious to the convenience a new year provides for making goals and starting fresh.

And this year, in light of having a new house and a new pooch, I’m feeling a fresh start with an acute ping. How could I not? My entire life has been flipped upside down. Where I once was a newlywed living in a 900 square foot apartment, now I’m a full-fledged wife with a 1500 square foot house, an adorable black lab mix and a million new opportunities that I didn’t have a month ago.

I don’t necessarily mean that all of a sudden huge doors have opened. I don’t suddenly have contacts in high career places or anything like that. But I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s the small things that matter most. Like inviting friends over for dinner and dog sitting for my mom while she’s out of town (for better or for worse…..). I have enough space in my living room to bust out my 30 Day Shred DVD without having to rearrange the furniture to do it.

These little things can be as life changing as huge things. And I’ll keep you posted as I make this journey to finding my new self in my new circumstances. But since it’s a new year, I decided to do something I’ve thought about but never actually done until now: make a vision board. And I invited my friend, Reanna, over to make one with me (something I wouldn’t have done at the apartment).

The stack of magazines we were working with. It took HOURS to go through them all!

The stack of magazines we were working with. It took HOURS to go through them all!

I’ve seen multiple people do them. And people all seem to have their own philosophy and strategy when it comes to content, layout, purpose. I know people who look at the vision board as a request to the universe for the things that they want. Some are almost superstitious, being careful not to use words or images that might be taken too literally. I look at it as more of a reminder of the things I wish to accomplish in the year to come, an organization of thoughts and goals in a place where I can see them on a daily basis. I don’t expect them to come true simply because I put them on the board. But they’re there. Sort of like a paper Pinterest for the new year (anyone else see the irony of a “paper Pinterest?”).

Getting there

Getting there

While I don’t believe that the universe is taking note of my desires, nor do I believe that by putting my wishes/goals on a board that they will come true, I did notice that certain patterns emerged. I do believe in the psychology of our choices, the subconscious repetitions based on things we don’t necessarily notice at first sight. Like my friend Reanna. She got all of her photos and phrases on her board and realized that her overall theme was more of self-improvement than it had been in previous years. She also had far more wording than she was used to. She left our house with a lot to think about.

Since I haven’t done a board before, I didn’t have anything to compare to, but I did notice patterns. Like I cut out more than one phrase about “fear.” Likewise with “happiness.” I had many photos and phrases about travel and a handful about food and several about photography. While some people feel that using words on a dream board is a bad idea, I feel like my board without words wouldn’t be MY board. Words are such an important part of my life, it would just seem wrong not to have them present. I like my board. I think it feels very “me.”

The finished product

The finished product

I’m really excited for 2013. The past twelve months have been challenging to say the least, but I am really optimistic about the coming year. I think there is a lot of growth, a lot of fun, a lot of excitement and a lot of change on the horizon. For the first time in my life I feel like I might just be where I’m supposed to be. I feel like I might be getting a clear picture of who I am and who I want to be. And I can’t wait to see how the next year unfolds.

Happy New Year, everyone! Do you have any goals for 2013? Do you make a vision board every year?

December 27, 2012

The most wonderful time of the year

Christmas is over. Gone. Past. Done. Most years I could regale you with how much I enjoyed the season. Baking cookies with my mom. Driving around and looking at houses adorned with millions of tiny colored lights. Making a trek to Nevada City for Victorian Christmas. Picking out the perfect tree and then decorating it whilst sipping cocoa and idly tuning in to a Christmas movie in the background. I could tell you about how my DVR is 92% full with every Christmas movie and special that aired. I’d tell you about shopping trips and adventures in wrapping. And picking a handful of names from the Angel Tree.

Katie "helped" with the little wrapping I did do

Katie “helped” with the little wrapping I did do

But this year I got nothin.

I guess that’s not entirely true. Mom and I did our baking. Granted, it was a seriously condensed version of what we usually bake. Only ten different types of cookies plus fudge. You’re probably laughing because yes, that is a lot of cookies, but we usually do about twice that. I did, however, try several new recipes. I’ll share my favorite with you later. I may have to make another batch because I think they all got eaten before I had the chance to take photos.

We also did get a tree and decorate it and I did make hot cocoa. But we got our tree from Home Depot because it was the week before Christmas and they were the only ones with trees left that didn’t belong at Charlie Brown’s Christmas pageant and we just didn’t have a day free to go pick out and cut down one like we wanted to.

I also did some shopping. Two days before Christmas. And that was all. We bought gifts for nieces and nephews and our parents and the rest got homemade salted caramel hot chocolate…which, by the way, was fabulous in itself. I’ll share that with you soon as well. I actually DID get photos of those. For now, here’s Jim making salted caramel sauce.

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And one of me in the cutesy Christmas apron my grandmother gave me. Jim pretty much made the sauce by himself. I just wanted to pose with my apron.

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We didn’t even hang out stockings this year. We got new ones. Pretty Pottery Barn ones (granted, mine showed up all messed up from the embroidery machine, but it still works. They did give me a refund in case you were wondering), but we also got a new mantle, which was still too tacky after being painted to put anything heavy on. So it held our cards (and Jim’s birthday cards) and stockings lived on the floor.

You'll have to excuse the phone photos. They're all I've got at the moment.

You’ll have to excuse the phone photos. They’re all I’ve got at the moment.

I bet you’re wondering why Christmas was no big thing this year. I mean it was our first Christmas in our first house and it should have been special right? Well, I think that’s part of the reason. We still haven’t really finished unpacking and the house has pretty much taken all of our energy and attention (minus what Katie requires). Christmas more or less sneaked up on us. We have just been too busy. Not to mention I’ve had a nasty bug of some sort for the entire month of December, so I haven’t felt like doing anything. Not even putting our house together. On Saturday, we had our first of four days off and the plan was to work on getting the rest of the stuff in the garage put away, clean the inside, get it all nice looking again. We sat on the couch and watch the first two Lord of the Rings movies instead. And you know what? It felt darn good.

Now that the holidays are essentially over and my cough is finally chilling out, life can start to find its way to normal. I’m excited for the new year, to get settled into our new home, our new life with our new pooch. I have a feeling 2013 is going to be amazing.

How was your Christmas? Do you have big plans for the new year?

November 27, 2012

Finding Happiness

To say that I’ve been busy lately would be an understatement. To say that my life is chaotic at the moment would be one too. And to say that I’m completely and utterly happy would be a third.

In August, when I put together my list of thirty things to do before I turn 30, I added “Learn to be happy in Roseville.” It seemed like such a daunting task. There are so many things about this town that I just despise: the lack of character, the cookie-cutterness of it. The fact that most of the restaurants and stores are national chains and the neighborhoods are a sea of suburban track housing. How could I ever be happy in such blah surroundings?

I’ve always believed that old saying that wherever you go, there you’ll be. Problems and all. That’s probably why I never moved to Boston or London or any of the other crazy locations that I was sure would make life so much better. Don’t get me wrong. I still think I’d rather live in either one of those places, but I was always aware that simply being there wouldn’t change me. I do, however, think I’ve remedied a couple of the major problems that made me feel so strongly about my current locale.

First things first. I am NOT a beige person. I believe our previous housing situation is to blame for my unhappiness in two three four ways. The first is beige. Our apartment, the hallway to our apartment, the exterior of our building was BEIGE. Is there an uglier, less happy color? Secondly, It was roughly the size of a shoebox which meant we had to rent a separate home for all of our pretty wedding gifts, our camping equipment and our childhood mementos in the form of a storage unit. Not to mention, it ALWAYS  looked and felt cluttered and that causes me some serious cognitive dissonance (I’m not a messy person, but there’s nowhere to put it all!). I can not handle clutter (insert involuntary shudder here). Thirdly, it was dark. When you have to turn on a light to see in the kitchen regardless of the hour, there’s no way you’ve got enough natural light. Lastly, I believe that not having a place that was really home was getting to me. I mean sure, we had a place where our stuff lived and where we slept at night and had our nosh and Scooby Doo or Nancy Drew video game marathons on Sunday afternoons, but it wasn’t ours. It was…standard. And it wasn’t enough.

In walks our new house (no, not literally…we actually walked into it, but that’s not the point). Which, by the way, we love. And we OWN. And while it WAS beige when we moved in, now it’s a pretty shade of grey with a touch of blue and more than enough sunlight to satisfy my vitamin D requirements. We’ve put holes in the walls with no regard for a security deposit. As I mentioned before, we painted….the WHOLE HOUSE. We even painted one wall a dark blue and one room a beautiful teal green color. We have a garage for our camping stuff, a big enough kitchen for all of our shiny new wedding gifts and even an entire room just for my books!

I know, I know. “We want to see pictures!” Well, you’re going to have to wait. Because while I’m uuber excited to have enough space for all of our stuff, we are still living in clutter, the clutter of the still-needs-to-be-put-away. So when I get it all together, I’ll write a whole post full of photos of our new house. Deal?

For now, I’ll post this one for you: Our new pooch, Katie.

We rescued her from the SPCA in Sacramento. She’s the sweetest dog, about a year old. She loves to be around people and hates the back yard! Which is too bad for her because she’s going to be spending some time there, especially while we’re still getting stuff put away. Her previous owners brought her to the shelter because they didn’t have enough time for her. She comes to work with me every day, so we don’t have a problem there (and don’t feel so sorry for her for having to spend time in the back yard. She is by no means neglected)! She’s part black lab and part…..we don’t really know. The vet speculates terrier, but she also looks a little like a basenji. We won’t ever know for sure, but we don’t care anyway. We love her regardless of her pedigree.

Katie’s been with us for about two weeks, which means she got to meet the families at Thanksgiving. They all loved her. And we had such a great time seeing all of them. Although there was one person missing at the dinner table this Thanksgiving: Jim’s uncle Ken, who passed away at the end of July. There was a moment toward the end of dinner when I realized that the last time I’d sat at the formal dining table at Jim’s parents’ house had been…I don’t even remember the occasion… but Jim was working late and didn’t make it to dinner. Uncle Ken was being his obnoxious self and terrorizing Jim’s sister, Tricia. It wasn’t a particularly eventful evening or memorable in any way except that he had been sitting across the table from me during that dinner, and now he won’t ever again. Uncle Ken would have loved Katie.

Two Christmases ago, Uncle Ken and his wife, Elaine, spent the holiday in Mexico with my family. Uncle Ken is in black next to me. The guy above him is the bartender at the hotel where they stayed. He’d become part of the family by the end of our trip. And the head in the background to the right of the bartender is my youngest brother, Dan. I can barely remember Uncle Ken without that giant smile on his face. For as much of a pain in the butt as he could be at times, he sure did love life. I’m so glad we got to spend this time with him.

But enough of hanging out on the verge of tears. Life is good. And there’s so much to love about it. Uncle Ken would have been so pissed if he knew we were sitting around crying over him. He’d want us to feel the joy in our lives. And between owning our own home, having a new pooch in our little family, being closer to Jim’s family, and the numerous little things that make life amazing, I think I may just be able to stay happily in Roseville. …for a while anyway.

July 5, 2012

4th of July at the beach

We had no big plans for 4th of July this year, which is strange because it’s always been such a big holiday for my family. At the last minute, we decided to join my brother’s family…as well as some family friends, some of which I haven’t seen in years…at Dillon Beach for 4th of July. I’m not going to write much, just post some photo highlights from the 24 hours or so we were there.

Sunrise at the dock

Tucker and Ila, our friend Alison’s little girl. Aren’t they the cutest?!

She’s gonna be a great wife someday! LOL

Funny lil face!

Lil Man playing in the sand.

I love his little hood.

It was such a beautiful day at the beach. Most of the summer it’s foggy and cold down there. My family used to spend every weekend, every summer down there in a 5th wheel trailer in horseshoe formation with Alison’s family and the families of a few other friends. I hadn’t been there since before I graduated college, and it was nice to be back, to see everyone again (We’ve seen each other more recently than I’ve been to the beach, though!).

I spent the day with Michaela and Tucker and “the girls” while Jim went fishing with my brother. Jim had to work today, so we headed home when they got back. It was a nice, relaxing day, and a nice quiet evening. We stood in our parking lot and watched the various fireworks shows in the area. It was kind of neat to be able to see so any of them, even though they were smaller for us than if we’d been close by. But we were feeling low key, so it was perfect.

How was your 4th?

February 15, 2012

Lovey Lovey Day

Well yesterday was the day of love, and while it had it’s lovey moments, it was actually quite a difficult day. My dad is in town, which automatically multiplies my stress level. My body was feeling beat up between fighting a bladder infection, being super exhausted and the tension building in my neck and shoulders.  By the time I got home from work, I was ready to just fall into bed and forget the day ever happened.

But we had a date planned, and I couldn’t just bail on my husband, plus, it kind of brought me out of my funk.

Since Jim isn’t working, we decided to try something new this year. With $20 each, we went to the mall and split up for about an hour to pick out as many little gifts as we could within our allotted budget. It was so much fun! I think Jim was a little overwhelmed because he doesn’t spend much time at the mall and he didn’t know where to go, but he did good!

He got me this tea infuser mug, along with a tea bag strainer and a cute little glass fish named Joy the Koi. But my favorite part was the mug. This is what it said on the side of the box:

The flowers in bloom on this lovely infuser mug represent the beginning of beautiful things. Fragrant white flowers and two happy birds, leaning on each other, symbolize the harmony between newly-married couples and wishes for happiness in life in the future.

Isn’t that amazing? He said he didn’t even read the side of the box, but how perfect for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple?

After we’d made our purchases, we went home and he cooked dinner…nothing special, just some sausages (veggie for me) on the BBQ and a salad and some pasta-roni (I can’t help it! I love that stuff!). Then we opened our gifts. I got him a couple of pieces of Godiva chocolate, a sushi mat, a tiny puzzle, a parachute penguin (you know, the kind with the plastic parachute and you throw it in the air and it glides down?), and a Slushy cup from the As Seen on TV store.

And then we went to bed.

Like I said, nothing major or exciting, but we spent it together and that was what counted.

How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

December 22, 2011

Feeling more like myself again

I don’t know whether it’s excitement for the holidays, maybe I’m sleeping better, or the “crack” energy drink my mom has been feeding me lately, but I’m feeling more myself the past week or so.

Really, there’s far too much good stuff in the world to not feel excitement, even if it is because you don’t have the energy to.

Like these clouds from my drive home the other night:

I’m not proud of this, but I almost ran off the road trying to take this photo. But it was worth it!

 It really is the little things that make life wonderful. Like how excited I am to go home and be with my husband who I still miss every single day when I’m away from him, even after being together for three years.

And my super-cute little nephew, Tucker.

I mean how can I not enjoy life when this little guy is in it?

Even smaller things, tiny things you wouldn’t even think of can give you joy.

Like this salad my mom made us for lunch. It had mixed greens, avocado, pears, blueberries and gorgonzola cheese on it. Talk about happy in the tummy!

I know it’s probably not going to last forever. I’m sure my energy is going to dip again, but as long as I’ve got it, I plan to love every minute of it!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and has plenty of lovely little things in life to make it worth breathing for.