Sunday, December 23, 2012

Island time...

Noell and I have birthdays that are close together (me 11/27 and her 12/10; go ahead and start planning what to get us next year).  For our birthdays this year, we decided to go on a little trip to celebrate together and we planned it for the first weekend in December.  Thanks to it being the off-season for Catallina, we decided we would take advantage and head to the island.  Noell found a screaming deal on Groupon and we  booked the weekend.

The week leading up to the trip we were both really stressed and busy.  It really didn't seem like we had time to go away for one of the few precious weekends left before Christmas.  I was thinking of all that needed to be done to prepare for Christmas, to finish for school, and prepare for Noell's parents to come for the holidays.  Noell was busy with her new business space and her clientele was increasing by the day.  We didn't really talk about these feelings beforehand but we both felt it.  The tension in the house was obvious to both of us.

During the drive up to Dana Point, we already started to decompress.  We actually had time to chat and catch up on things that we were so busy we had glossed over lately.  We got on the ferry to head to Catalina and about one hour later, this is what we saw...

It was beautiful.  The fog was just lifting, the cute little town of Avalon built into the side of the island was so cool to see as we pulled up.  We got picked up by the hotel shuttle and settled into our room.  We checked out the happy hour at the restaurant bar in the hotel and then headed into town to check it out.  We got some Chinese food the first night, and walked around enjoying the Christmas lights and decorations.

Hot and sour soup.

Avalon at night.

The next day we got up and went for a hike.  We walked over to the Conservancy on the island and got a map of hiking and camping spots for future use.  We walked up to the botanical garden and the Wrigley Memorial.

Fuzzy cactus.

From the top of the memorial monument.

Us at the top.

We had a nice dinner that night, and then headed over to a different restaurant for a nightcap.  We played cards in our hotel room both nights, this isn't the first vacation that we have played games.  We seem to be in the mood to just spend some quality time together while we are away.  We don't always seem to find the time for that at home.

Nightcap: Cider for me, whiskey for her. 

Cozy bar seating.

The next morning we got up and had breakfast at our hotel, it was delicious!  French toast and omelets, yum! Then we headed back down to catch the ferry back to the mainland.

Waiting for the ferry.

At first this trip seemed more like a hassle than a getaway but in the end it was really a great time for us to relax and re-connect right before the holiday busyness.

And here is a little holiday goodness for you to enjoy if you haven't already seen it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Politics and kiddos

I am here in St. Louis with my family typing this post.  I have had so many thoughts and ideas over this past month to write about but I haven't found the time to put together any posts.  When I got my ticket to come home this trip I was very aware of the dates of travel and that it would be very soon after the election.  This is interesting because my parents and I are on very opposite sides of the political issues.  I tend to think about politics as a spectrum versus just democrat or republican; each person falls somewhere, but it not always easy to see where they fit just by looking.  For example, my parents support me in my marriage and came to celebrate with my wife and I this summer as we married; however they would not vote to allow legal same sex marriage.  To see them at my wedding, you would probably assume that they were liberal (ish), or at least moderate on at least social issues.    

The beginning of the Z team!

 It is definitely weird, confusing, and sometimes hurtful, but really, if a gay daughter that they happily support (emotionally and financially) in a marriage ceremony, doesn't change their political views on the topic, I don't know what would.

To clear things up (in case there was ever a question) I want to say that I am so Proud (yes with a capital P) that we, as a country, made the choice we did on November 6th.  Nice job America, well done.

Supportin' my man.  #barackobama
I just had a big long explanation typed about reasons that I voted the way I did (complete with youtube clips :))  and why it is important to me, I  but deleted it, realizing that the election is over, my guy won, and I am happy and very thankful  for that, so why stir the pot?

: :

In other St. Louis happenings, my mom, sister, (who blogs over here) and I ran in a 5K on Thanksgiving day.  It was an out-and-back style run, which I prefer to a loop, but I had no idea of that when we started.  To be honest, once we started and we went down a few steep hills right off the bat, I was hoping for a course that was a circle!  Kaitlyn and I painted our faces and I got several comments on my "war paint".

Right as the pic is snapped, Kait says "I'm not gonna smile".  Cracked me up!
: :

I soaked up as much of these kids as I could until today when I woke up with a sore throat and headache.  I love being an aunt and seeing these kiddos grow.

Elisabeth and Alaythea, 11 months

Benjamin and Paw-paw

Benny, 2.5 years

Silly Laythie


Elisabeth only wanted mom or dad, she wasn't  feeling well, hence my current sickness.  
Family picture day.  

A sick but smiling Lizzie.
: :

I also did some visiting with my BFF Kristin, and her cute squishy son.  He has the biggest blue eyes, and was so happy the whole time I was there.  It is really awesome to see my friend transition into a mom and how she has done so well with it.

kinda blurry, but the only smile I caught, he's fast!

Havin' fun.

Post-nap, cute little bed head.  
: :

I spent more time with other family, but forgot my camera :/  I did get my wrapping done for the gifts I brought home in my suitcase.  I loved the wrapping done by kelle, and so I copied it and added a little something of my own, a bell.

I also caught this sunset while driving home one evening, it's pretty here with all the leaves falling and bare trees.

I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving, I did for sure.  I have so much more to say but my throat- comfort tea and a comfy bed is calling my name.  Goodnight from St. Louis.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Laundry, Costumes, and Dirt

I do all the laundry at my house.  Noell and I have a deal to trade certain chores that we don't like to do.  I do the laundry (wash, dry, fold) and she takes out the trash (empty cans, new bags, cans to curb).  Lately the laundry has been a little different than the norm.  Noell's laundry offerings haven't changed at all, but my laundry provisions have included mainly pj's and work clothes.  Very few workout clothes, going out to dinner clothes, or relaxing clothes from my closet.  It's funny that this is what made me notice how much I am working.  Obviously I realized that my schedule was non-stop lately, but I was on auto-pilot, just waking up  going to the prescribed place for that day (clinical site or work), coming home, working out when time allowed, all without giving it much thought.

I am off today (1st time in 10 days) and I am really enjoying it.  Even more so than when I get regular days off each week.  I actually was looking forward to doing my errands and workout.  Funny how a busy schedule gives me a change in perspective and a gratefulness for the everyday routine.  Does that happen to you?

Yesterday at work we had an event that takes place twice each year for nurses.  It is a meeting with guest speakers and we receive some continuing education units (CEUs); but the committee who organizes it always tries to make it fun too.  Because it was Halloween, we had a costume contest.  Our region of San Diego dressed up as "mixed nuts".  We all had different nut costumes and our supervisor made a can for us to all stand inside.  We tied for 1st place.


My super-cute nephew John dressed up as a pirate this year.  Unlike last year, he was able to muster up a few words such as "trick-or-treat"  or "thank you" without too much prompting.  When I was growing up in St. Louis, we had to tell a joke or do a trick to get our candy.  We couldn't just merely say "trick or treat"; we had to have something to offer.  John would have never survived it, even saying "trick or treat" was quite a task for this little one.  Isn't he cute though?


In other news on the Z team, I have struggled with Elka digging up my flower bed.  It started out of nowhere,  the flower bed is not new, it has always been there.  I guess she just hadn't discovered it yet.  Here is the first day she figured out that she likes to dig:

Where's the sidewalk?

 Then I found the broom that we keep outside to sweep the patio had been reduced to this:
Poor little broom

So here is my remedy to that situation, using old paver blocks that we already had.  Turned out pretty good I thought:

Not too shabby

Elka apparently disagreed and I found this earlier today:

So after consulting with my wife who is much  more knowledgeable about how to deter dogs from digging, I headed to Home Depot to gather the recommended supplies.  Here is what we have now:

Not very pretty, but it's working so far....

I am hoping this digging phase is over by the time I want to plant my yearly sweet peas in this spot.  I love sweet peas:

Sweet peas 2010

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hump Day Nuggets: Happenings as of Late

hump day nuggets: bits of the season in photos and words*

*The hump day nuggets series is the brainchild of Nici Holt Cline who blogs over at dig this chick.  You should check out her blog or her etsy shop, to see the full extent of her talent and creativity.  Thanks Nici!

:: Brunching at our neighbors.  Great food, great company, and celebrated a friend's birthday.  

Me (in my favorite fall shirt), and Noell (in a shirt from her favorite bar). 

Otis and Simon

Molly and Chris

Otis and Joy

Birthday girl is on the right! Happy Birthday Cindi!

:: Attended my first ever book signing.  got to hear the wonderful Kelle Hampton read from her memoir,  and then meet her and have her sign my book!  Kelle writes a blog over at Enjoying the Small Things.  Her story is inspiring and I love looking at her photos. 

Kelle and Me!

:: I received a curious package in the mail the other day.  Too early for my birthday....WAY too early for Christmas, what could it be?  

So I opened it up and it was the sweetest request from my cousin Sarah...she stood up for me as my bridesmaid this past June and I am so excited to be able to do the same for her! Congratulations Sarah and Adam!

The "ring" was a ring pop candy that she had propped up to look like an engagement ring.

The happy couple! 

:: Happy Hump Day!