Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Graduation & Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti

Bet you thought I was gone for good! Nope, just a slacker. Haven't been around the place for the past two weekends, and not home much during the week, and when I am, I'm either catching up on chores, or enjoying important TV shows like Little People Big World, or Law & Order SVU. I still don't really feel like writing, but want to share the pics, so without further ado, here they are...


So, so, so glad that we were able to go to this. It looked a little sketchy for a stretch there, but God is good. He knew we really needed this piece of rejuvenation and focusing on us and Him. Hard to believe that a week ago at this time Erin, Kiyoko and I were in our swimsuits laying out in front of the lake, gearing up to do the GPS Treasure hunt. *Sigh* Very fun. There's no place else quite like Hume Lake. Think of the biggest and best summer camp you've ever been to, multiply it by 100, and you get Hume. They have quality facilities, quality location, quality worship, and get awesome speakers. You get the gist. We were fortunate to tag along with the Lankford's church, so we met a lot of new people, and they were all really nice. The scandal of the weekend was they thought Joe's identical brother Josh (whom they all know because he interns with Chris at their church) was there with a mystery woman (me). I lost count of the people who tentitively came up to Joe and said "Err, are you Josh, or Joe? And who are you with?". It was pretty funny.
Joe and I committed that we would always try and do things to benefit our marriage and relationship; we've just seen too many people focus on other things within their marriage like kids, work, etc., and we just want the foundation of "us" and where we are with the Lord to be rock solid, with the idea that everything else will be stronger and better off for it. That's why we're so for premarital counseling with a real counselor vs a pastor who definitely has the best of intentions, but not the same training. Ours was invaluable; in fact, we went back to her for about 1 session a month for 4 months right before Joe started the academy because we knew it was going to be a tough stressful situation. It really helped, and I firmly believe that working on yourself or relationship in that capacity is a good thing. More people should do it. OK, I'll get off my soap box now...
So, we took full advantage of all Hume had to offer like renting bikes and riding around the lake, the high ropes course for the guys, paddling out into the lake on a boat, the pool, the GPS treasure hunt (which was fun but really exhausting), the snack shack, hanging out at the coffee shop Hume n' Beans talking and laughing...really just playing. It was great. They took care of everything. But the real "meat" of the retreat was the speakers, Bill & Pam Farrel, who wrote the book Men Are Like Waffles & Women Are Like Spaghetti . We had all read the book, and actually, we had done it together as a small group with the Lankfords a few years ago. The whole point of the book in a nutshell, is that men compartmentalize things, while women connect everything together, and how to work through and with those differences in a loving relationship, rather than have them grow into really big problems. Communication, people!! That is what a lot of it boils down to...and Lord knows, I'm not perfect at it by any means, so it was really good to hear positive ways to work on it.

What was also really cool about the weekend, was not only being with the Lankfords (of course), but with our other friends who mean so much to us. Very rarely do all our schedules mesh together; so this was great. Hopefully, we can make it an annual thing where no matter where we are, or what we're up to, we can make it to this together. Friends are so important, aren't they? The older I get, the more I see just how much they do for us in our lives, and what purpose they have in them; especially for me, my girlfriends. Erin, well, I would have to sum it up that she is definitely my "kindred spirit" (you'll only get that reference if you read the Anne of Green Gables books, and if you didn't, I feel really sorry for you - its like you missed a piece of childhood). We are two peas in a pod. No matter how long it has been, we always start right back from where we left off - and we've never had a fight. No stupid girl drama with us. She was my maid of honor, she'll be my kids' aunt, and we'll be fun crazy old ladies together. 'Nuff said. And Kiyoko, she is the most generous person I know, coupled with fantastic advice. I love the frankness of our talks, how we can be creative and crafty together, and that time spent with her is time well spent. How did I get so lucky?

Me and my favorite guy. Jeez, I'm white. You can't tell where I start and where my tank top ends...

Biking around the lake with the Sorgels (Chase & Erin).

Contrary to what you might think, very yummy food - not camp-y at all. And check out the view from the dining hall...not too shabby, right?

Thank you Alder (especially room 201) - you were good to us...hope to see you next year!


It was really fun, and I'm really glad that we were all able to be there, except, it really pointed out to me that my grandparents have really aged, and this was probably the last trip we'll make with them. I've been fortunate to have traveled quite a bit with all my grandparents, but this time was a very big contrast to all the previous times. It was stressful on them not remembering where they were, all the security precautions now, etc. Not too fun to watch. But on the flip side, my brother's graduated, we had an awesome dinner (no, didn't make it to the premiere), and really great memories. Luckily, we were blessed with a foggy morning for the graduation, otherwise I would've burned to a crisp despite the fact that I lathered on the sunscreen. We were seated out on the football field and there was not one spec of shade. I really hate being so fair, and I hope that our kids inherit Joe's tanning abilities. Anyway, the speakers were good, but there were A LOT of names we had to sit thru till they got to Blaine's. When they did, we all jumped up and screamed like maniacs. It was fun. Tip: If you are ever in the vicinity of the Napa Rose, go eat there. Even if its just for an appetizer or dessert. The whole time I was eating, I kept thinking that our friends Chris & Kiyoko should've been there, because they're the real foodies. Each dish looks like a work of art, and tastes amazingly good. You know how sometimes you go to a really classy or gourmet place, and nothing tastes good, because its all a little too fancy & weird? Not so here. Truly one of the best meals I've ever had. And if you don't want to eat, just go there to look, because it is gorgeous. Its a combo is Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite (we stayed there for a portion of our honeymoon), all beautiful timber, big boulders/river rock and stained glass, huge fireplaces, classy piano music playing - love it! I keep telling Blaine to please, please keep working at Disney when we have kids so we can use his sweet discount there at the park and hotels. He just rolls his eyes. I'm only half joking.

So, now you're caught up. Jeez, I didn't feel like writing, but man, I got on a roll. What's up next? Well, I just finished the first onsie, now onto another. We got our tax refund, so I'm hoping that this weekend we can go to a store and at least peruse if not buy a new camera (exciting!). We went and saw Pirates last night, and I'm still not sure what I think. I could watch Johnny Depp play that character forever - he was definitely the best part of the movie. I'm still trying to figure the plot out...I'm half convinced there wasn't really one. Not too sure. Anyway, have a great first weekend of June people!! (June - can you believe it?!?)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Just A Quickie...

So after work tomorrow, we hop onto Jet Blue and fly to LA LA land for my little brother's college graduation. That means that I'm starting to feel anxiety about my list of "To Do"s; laundry, packing, dishes, general straightening up. I don't know why, but before I go away, I feel like I have to speed clean everything, and have it all set. I think mostly, it helps me not to feel overwhelmed when I get back home about all the things that need to happen for the start of the week. I dunno if its the best system or not, because it doesn't make me the nicest person, and I know that I won't get the majority of it done...but a girl can try, right? And anyway, this is supposed to be a fun little trip. I don't want to start it off now in a stinky mood. Jet Blue is the coolest airline to fly on. All the seats are leather, there's a TV in the back in the seat in front of you that gets a ton of channels, and their snacks are far superior to anyone else's. I don't know why, but anytime that flying is involved, I am that much more excited. Flying with Joe too. We've only done that once when we went to Hawaii...so its a fun little treat. The graduation will be nice, it shouldn't be scorching hot down there this weekend, and then for dinner to celebrate, we're eating at this really shi-shi restaurant in California Adventure Land - the Napa Rose I think. Because my bro works for Disney, he gets a really nice discount and was able to pull a few strings and get us in. That in and of itself is impressive. What makes it doubly so is that the night we will be there also happens to be the night that Disney will have the premiere of the third Pirates movie, with all the starts there. In fact, they will be eating at the same restaurant later that night. Snazzy, huh? I am still secretly hoping that maybe he can get us into Disneyland to actually see the premiere and Johnny-Keira-Orlando. We'll see.
It feels weird that my brother is now a full fledged grown up. Of course, he'll still be living the student lifestyle for a few years more - he has decided to get his master's in PR, so he'll definitely have some hard work ahead of him. But I'm super proud of him. I predict that he'll end up in some cool, different job. I bet it's in a studio...so he'll be hobb-nobbing with the rich and famous. I doubt that he'll move back up the the Bay; LA fits him.
And lastly, before I run off, I just wanted to let you all know that this week, Comcast cable & DVR landed in our household (yea!). And it is good. And life will never be the same.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wish List

Yeah, I'm satisfied with my life, and grateful for what I have. Yeah, I don't have anymore room to cram things into my very-fastly-growing-way-too-small-apartment. But I have one sublime wish list, and I just know that getting the things on it would make my life even that much better... I would make it work!!

Numero uno on the list is a dog. You are either a dog person, or you aren't and we happen to be. When you've been raised all your life with pets, it makes a big difference when you can't have them. I want that companionship for walks and days when Joe is at work. This is a picture of the breed I want; a Rottweiler! Most people look shocked when I tell them that part. Me, a little white girl wanting a bad ass type dog. But, hey people, I've done my research, and they're great dogs. Since I'll be by my lonesome a fair amount at night when hubby has work, I want a dog that is protective. Not just protective as in barks loudly, but as in when people see it will think twice, decide they don't feel like being bitten or torn to mince meat and go away. They're great with kids, and they don't shed like the other breed we were looking at (German Shepherd). Plus, look at that little face, ain't it sweet? Joe is interested in one other breed too, but I'm holding firm. You'll see!! I also have an awesome name in mind, but I'm not sharing that yet, lest one of you takes it for your canine. But alas, that has to wait till we find a little house. I think the landlord would notice if we tried to sneak having that kind of behemoth of a dog.

Oh, how I know that I would love TiVo! Of course, getting TiVo would necessitate getting cable, which let me tell you that I am all in favor of. That's right, since we've been married, no TV. We do have a beautiful TV, but it's main use has been for DVDs and XBox. It made sense in the beginning because we were poor and didn't want another bill to pay. Then we had the money, but Joe was in the academy and didn't want the distraction. Then he finished, but was afraid that we'd get sucked in and turn into blobs. And there the issue has rested. But, man I miss the Food Network, TLC, and Law & Order SVU. Also the news, and silly stuff like who was voted off American Idol. We can live without it...I would just rather not at this point. Also, (and I use this point quite a bit), what is a girl supposed to do by herself at night? I'm an avid reader, but even I can only read so much. And now I have little craft projects to work on, but sometimes you just want to veg, you know? I know we're almost to TiVo land...just a little farther to go.

I really hope I get this for my birthday in the fall. I have been eyeballing the LeCruset pots for years, and I am too cheap to pay for one for myself. Plus, we do have limited cabinetry in our closet sized kitchen to store something so big with my other pots and pans. But I do not care. This pot is awesome and beautiful; this is the new color, I think it is called "Caribbean Blue", and I love it! Much better and fresher than some of the seventies-like colors that they use. All the "chefy" girls on TV have this style pot, so I need one too. Because having this pot will let me be just like them. I bet it makes the food taste better too.

And in the left corner, Nikon...........in the right, Canon. This will be happening within a month or two - a DSLR of my very own!! I have dabbled in photography since high school ( darkroom, develop your own film, win a ribbon at the county fair; you know, the whole shebang) and enjoyed it. I inherited my dad's old SLR, and had a blast using it. But now that technology is pretty obsolete. It only makes sense to get a digital one. But my head is spinning with options. Growing up with my dad (who is EXTREMELY loyal to certain brands) it was Nikon all the way. So I've been drooling for awhile over the D40. But lately, my head has been getting turned by Canon. Some of Joe's family members have gotten them, and some people whose blogs I read also use them and seem to really like them. Which way to go? With what I know, or be a rebel and switch sides? Any advice in this area would be appreciated.

Ooohh, aahhh, Crate & Barrel, do you ever go wrong? Although I admit I do prefer Pottery Barn, you knock my socks off with this bed ( picture matching bedside tables on either side). But I like even better what it represents: a unified grown up bedroom!! Again, this will have to wait for a house. I'm just tired of having a mish-mash of furniture - I'd like it to stop looking like we're in college, and be put together. The bedroom has definitely gotten the short end of the stick. Instead of a catch all space in a tiny apartment, I want it to be a quiet and relaxing place (read: no computer/ironing board/snowboards/tools/cop gear). Since we've been so thrifty, we've never bought a big piece of furniture together. It'll be fun and grown up. While I would love to have a complete set of bedroom furniture (one day baby!), I would settle just for a headboard and bedside tables like the beauty in the pic ...

So there you have it. The stuff that my materialistic dreams and wishes are made of.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Little Blurbs

I thought the best way to recap this whole blur- of- a -weekend was to post the pics that I liked the best, and write a little blurb for each one as it entered my head. I could write pages and pages about conversations, meals, Chris's message, but I don't want to totally bore you to tears. So without further ado, the Road Trip With the In-Laws of 2007 to Long Beach re-cap:

You can probably guess that two of those guys are twins. You're right. Joe (my hubby) is in the blue, and Josh is in the red. Andrew, one of Josh's housemates, is on the far left with the chip. This picture makes me think of the Sesame Street song "which of these things is not like the other". Anyway, Andrew is a recent seminary grad, is dating a lovely lady named Carla (who I got to meet this time), and is a music pastor. He is also one of the most well-read, eccentric, musical people I know. He can talk to you about opera or 80's hairbands in the same sentence. Andrew was the consummate host, and took us to one of the best Mexican restaurants I've ever been to (and being raised in CA, there's a lot, so that really says something), El Chulo. Muy excellante!

Well, here is the awesome twosome. These guys crack me up. Being twins, they have a bond that goes way past brothers...I don't really know how to describe it. There's the normal finishing each other's sentences, reading the other's mind, and knowing how the other is hardwired. But it goes a lot deeper than even that; it is very cool to see. Especially now that they don't live together, I think they get along better. Where as before there was typical sibling stuff, now there's a real friendship. Josh is such a great guy- whoever ends up with him is one lucky girl. I really liked seeing him in his element at church doing announcements, meeting people that think he's such an asset to the church, and even in the house with the guys. He's really grown a lot.
These are my in-laws. This is the second trip that Joe and I have taken with them to the LA area, and I hope not the last!! I am really fortunate to have married into a family where I feel so connected and comfortable. We really had a great time. I like being with them away from home, work, responsibilities, etc., because they really open and loosen up. Funny stories come out and there's a lot of laughter. Also, when I see them interact, I see a lot of myself and Joe. Wonderful, wonderful people.

These two cuties (and I don't mean me and Joe) are the Lankford girls. Jessalyn is on the left, Makayla on the right. Jessa was just a baby when Chris and Melinda came to our church, and now she's about to turn 8! She is just the most kind child I have ever met. She wants to share everything, and talks to everyone. It's like conversing with a mini adult. Makayla will be 5 in the fall and she's a little firecracker. It was great trying to see a child process the fact that Joe and Josh were twins. She's pretty used to seeing Josh, but adding Joe to the mix was a little mind blowing to her. Why did they have the same face? Are they brothers too? Am I married to both? Too cute. They are well behaved, polite, and full of spunk. Just what I'd like my kids to be like. Chris and Melinda have done a great job, and it's really encouraging to watch them parent. The most embarrassing point of the trip was when we were all hugging goodbye, and Jessalynn gave me a squeeze, then pointed to my stomach and said,"you get pregnant girl!". I turned about 3 different shades of magenta. Fun times.

You've heard me say it before, and I'll say it again. We love the Lankfords. Period. Chris married us, and Melinda was a bridesmaid. That kind of connection doesn't just happen, so when it does, you HAVE to cherish it. We miss them horribly. Every time we visit them in LB, and go to their church, we always turn to each other and say, "so, you wanna move down here?" We never would (the whole So Cal vs Nor Cal is a different blog), but just the thought of being in their church body makes us consider it. As usual, we left them feeling great. There is nothing like the knowledge that you are loved and prayed for. We had a lot of laughs, and a lot of talk. Of course, it was nowhere close to enough, but we'll take what we can get. Hopefully, we'll be able to join them and some of our other friends at Hume Lake over memorial day weekend (keep your fingers crossed that Joe's schedule allows it...)

Interesting things happen when you turn your camera over to a 4 year old. She didn't do too badly though...she got us all in the shot.

Makayla's self portrait. She's too funny and adorable.

On the crafting front, I've started making yo-yo's. I don't really know what I'll do with them...I was thinking a garland, but then I discovered that I'm not a speed whiz yet, and that might take awhile. I think for now, I'll just use them to embellish stuff. I also am stitching my first onsie, for a friend who is having her third baby this July. Joe's eyes turned into golf balls when I pulled them out of the Target bag, and I had to reassure him they weren't ours. I did start oohing and ahhhhing about how cute and tiny they were, and I'm sure Joe thinks that I'm starting to get babyitis...I mean, I don't have a full blown case, buuut, I am developing a few of the symptoms... :)