Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Option #5:

Wine country! This is Stephen's request - I'm not sure how this will come together because there is almost too many options. His idea was to go to Willamette Valley, then Rogue River Vally, then Napa Valley, then Santa Barbara area... driving the whole way and driving everywhere in between. Hmmm... I don't know. That's a lot of driving, and spending the whole vacation in the car is really not my idea of relaxation.

But the idea of drinking wine all day every day. That is my idea of relaxation.

So... the option is there.

Experts in the wine country for So Cal? Ideas? Recommendations?

need. vacation. now.

Something to look forward to, though months away: Stephen and I have decided to take a short vacation in July for our wedding anniversary. When we were talking about the possibility, we realized how long it has been since we've taken a trip JUST US. And even just a SINGLE night away just us. Not going with 30 other people and a full itinerary (like Europe last summer), not a family reunion - not visiting anyone, in fact. Just us. It was a while before Catherine was born, I think. Before I was pregnant even? Possibly. She's turning 2 on Monday. It's about damn time.

We're tossing around ideas. Two limitations: time, only 4-5 days. And money, of course. We are really needing to keep it down to a minimum. So likely no airplanes, nothing too fancy.

Idea #1: our favorite of all time, Ashland. But the show tickets might put us over our limit. So we're considering it. Don't know.

Idea #2: (and I haven't told Stephen about this one - I think he might cut it down right away because of the cost) a short, discount-type cruise. There are some good prices out there. Now, is it actually within our budget? Not likely. But I'm looking.

Idea # 3: Vegas, baby. Good rates are definitely available for hotels, but it's dangerous going there with a budget. It is the city of spending money. And flights? Ick. I haven't looked at this one yet. Maybe I shouldn't even try.

Idea #4: we've been there a hundred times, but not for a trip just for us - Oregon Coast. We know the area pretty well, but never having actually stayed there, I'm coming up short for actual direction - like where to stay. I don't know.

So... I know plenty of people that have been out there. Any ideas? Suggestions or recommendations of a place to stay? Known wineries out there?

You have no idea how much I really need this. I wish we didn't have to wait 5 months.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2008: the year in pictures

I know that the new year's celebrations have come and gone, but I'm a bit behind. So here is my look back at the last year in my favorite way, by pictures.

This is probably the most beautiful picture that was taken from the year. I love the smile in her eyes and how the bright colors in the shot really bring out her eyes. We were playing at an indoor playground, and she was having so much fun running all around and up and down the slides.

I love this picture because it captures her thoughtful mood. We were playing at Papa Steve's house, and she took a moment to gaze out the window. This is a pretty common look on her face. My thoughtful little girl.

This is still my favorite picture of her from the whole year. We were at Sack Camp, the annual family reunion for Stephen's side. With that cool shirt and those cool sunglasses - who can resist? It was hilarious because she said "cool baby" when she put on the glasses. She's so funny.
OK, not the greatest of pictures, especially because of that grumpy face. But it is the moment, the time, that it captures. And because it was one of the high points of the year, I can't resist including it.

Well, as if the election wasn't enough of a high point. Buying our first home was definitely another high. We're still getting settled, and might even be able to use the "play room" for our upcoming birthday parties. It makes things a bit more difficult right now, but the joy makes it all worth it. 2008 will always be remembered as the year we became homeowners.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A week of celebration

Tomorrow is a day of rememberance. Every year we remember a great man, who opened the eyes of many people in our country. But has it ever meant as much as it does this year? This year, I feel it has so much more weight. If you have a few minutes of your time, it is worth it to once again listen to Dr. King's speech. Listen from over 45 years ago, and think of how far we have come since then, and how much more we still have to go. (if you only have a few minutes and not the full 15 minutes, the most famous portion of the speech is about 12:30 into the video)

Then Tuesday, ah Tuesday. The day that I have been waiting for, along with so many others. If you haven't heard, we are getting a new president on Tuesday. A momentous event in history, right before our very eyes. The event will no doubt be linked to Martin Luther King, Jr, and also to Abraham Lincoln - going back nearly 150 years. Did you know that Obama will be sworn in using the actual bible that President Lincoln was sworn in with? That gives me chills. No matter who you voted for, you have to admit that this is huge. I for one will be smiling all day.

On a much less important note, but still interesting to me, Thursday brings the nominations for the Academy Awards. Not as big deal to me this year as it has in the past, due to the immense distractions that have kept me from movie theaters this last year, but I'm interested. Also, that day brings more rememberance for me. It was a year ago that we lost Heath Ledger. And I'm still in mourning.

And then I get to go shopping with my mom and sister on Saturday. Can this week get any better?

It's almost enough to make me forget that I have an exam on Wednesday.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I suppose I should see the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, the first of many tunnels, really. But I still expected to see a light. So why is it so dark in here?

I should have expected my class starting again to throw my life upside down. I should have seen it coming. But I didn't. After getting my class schedule on the first day, I nearly had a heart attack. So many projects, assignments, exams... and all scheduled as if the professor had a personal vendetta for me. All "perfectly" scheduled, clashing with birthdays, rehearsals, concerts, and you know, life.

As my heart rate calmed down and my blood pressure returned to normal (well, the typical normal for me these days, still a bit too high. Don't make me go into an anatomical description of why that is), I realized that I had a lot to think about. How important is this class? How do I survive?

The answer: sacrifice. As a result, many changes have been made.

- I'm calming down my birthday party. I was looking forward to a giant, opulent soiree to celebrate my 30th birthday. That's not going to happen. Even with help, I don't have the time or available stress to handle it. So, it will be much more simple, and at home. And I had to cut the guest list practically in half. Bummer.

- I will not be participating in choir this quarter. The performances happened to be placed right before my last exams and finals. No way. I'm not doing that to myself, and it's not fair for the choir either. Another bummer. My Tuesday nights will now be spent studying. Or banging my head on my desk in hopes that the pain will be diverted. I haven't decided.

- I'm going to stick to an allowance of free time. Only so many free nights. Only so many movies. It's going to get in the way of all of my lying around time. Again, we'll see how that goes. I also need to stay focused at home. There's so much to do, still settling down in our new house, but I have to get this class done. Class first, then house.

- And you'll be seeing me less here. I'm sure I'll procrastinate from time to time. But if you don't see a post for some time, you know why. But we do have many other exciting things happening in the next couple of months, so I will have to post something. On my to do list is posting my favorite pictures from the last year. Sort of a "2008: a picture essay". Hey, that sounds like a great title.

Until then, take care and God bless. May the force be with you. And me, too.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rest of Christmas pics

The rest of pics from our Christmas with my mom and sister. (thank you mom!)

At Papa Steve, opening his gift, a singing magnetic alphabet. Catherine opened it, pointed to it excitedly and said "A B C D!" "yes, that's right, letters!"

Classic horsey ride. Mommy = world's best jungle gym.

Playing peek-a-boo. It's so adorable when she instigates it herself. She covers her eyes and says "where is she?" and then peeks and either says "here I am!" or "peek a boo". I've got to get that on video if I can.

Tired and content after a long day of family visits.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

something to share

Yes, it's an article from Yahoo. Not the first place I would go for marriage advice. But the headline caught my eye and I was just curious. Actually, it's insightful and encouraging. And in the spirit of starting the year off right, I thought I would share.

" That's the strange beauty of marriage: It's full of hard times and hard lessons that no one can ever prepare you for. But in the end, those are the things that give richness to your life together -- and make your love even deeper and stronger than when it began."