Saturday, September 29, 2007

September Breakdown

Do you keep a calendar? I do. I love to write down appointments, dates to remember, birthdays, etc. While I was flipping throught my little Hallmark freebie one that I keep in my purse, I was pretty shocked at how many big things happened this month. But that accounts for why it felt like it was a blur. The fall is my favorite season of the year (unlike others I know *Marisa*), but it's also the kickoff in our household to the birthday/anniversary/holiday extravaganza that doesn't really let up until February. Here's what my schedule looked like for the month of September.

On the...

2nd: Spent our last day in Italy and flew home. Boo.

Us in front of the Trevi Fountain, Rome.

The view of the Duomo and red rooftops of Florence from our bedroom window.

Joe in front of the Colosseum.

The Grand Canal in Venice, riding on the water taxi to our hotel there.

9th: Happy Birthday to me!! I turned 26. It's not that different than 25. I was hoping I'd wake up with more wisdom, patience, maturity...something? But nope. It's not quite the same as when you were a kid and woke up on your birthday morning feeling empowered and slightly magical because you were now EIGHT as opposed to only SEVEN, and your world was bigger with new priviledges, responsibilites and a later bedtime. I still wake up excited that it's my day, but the age really doesn't seem to matter anymore. Anyhoo, I got some new kicks that I love - Uggs (or ugglies as Joe calls them)!! Lots of cards and phone calls and feeling loved on. Cheers to another year!

11th: Full time hours start at my work. Went to the 9/11 memorial at our church. They also honor all the local first responders (fire dept, police, emt) and Joe got to wear his uniform and looked like a stud. I felt very proud of him!!

12th: Met with Jim & Carolyn Millen and decided to do a weekly Bible study with them. So excited about this!! (But to do full justice to this topic it deserves its own blog)

15th: Went to my hair appointment for a trim and decide to dye my hair darker. Originally I was thinking a chocolate brown (I was just really sick of the blond grow-out that really bothered me when I looked at myself in the Italy pictures), but my hairdresser said she knew the perfect shade for me called "mahogany" that has some darker reddish tones in it. I've only ever really highlighted my hair, so this was rather extreme for me. I came home and knocked Joe's socks off. It's just a tish darker and more auburn-y than my own color. I think it's great! I wish I had a picture of that to show you...I'll have to get on that. Walked thru some open houses with Joe later than night just to get a feel of what's available.

17th: Happy Birthday Mom!! Celebrate with the family and go out to yummy Greek food.

21st: Knowing that Joe's schedule shift is fast upon us, we head to our mortgage broker to see how things look as far as getting a loan to buy a house since our goal is to be in one by the end of this year. So we looked over our budget, income, spending and bills for about 3 hours (before we met with the broker, so we'd have some #s to give him). Not the most fun thing I could think of to do. We had to do like 5 different scenarios of a budget to make sure that we'll be able to swing the house payments when we have kids and I stop working. But it was worth it. This time I didn't feel like puking when we talked about those humongous sums of money like I did when we touched bases with him earlier in March. All the numbers meshed up and we walked out of there pre-approved for a loan. Hurrah!

22nd: Can't stand not having anything fallish out even though technically fall is still one day away, so the wreath goes up. Get started on the onsies for Sandy's shower on the they are finished below. Sandy doesn't want to know if it's a boy or girl, so I made one for each. I'm really partial to the little girl's one. Sandy and her husband are living in New Orleans right now, so that's why I incorporated that into the onsie. Drive all around our town that afternoon with Joe and my folks going to open houses, my dad teaching Joe what to look for when you look at a house (he used to be a realtor), call a lot of Realtors to get house info. Have dinner with Jim & Carolyn at Texas Roadhouse, which is where I ate the best chicken fried steak I think I've ever had.

23rd: Joe changes to vampire hours. The shift starts at 9pm til 7am, with Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays off. Boo. Start watching Ken Burn's new documentary The War about WWII - very, very good.

25th: Happy Birthday Darlene (Joe's mom)!! We'll celebrate with his side all the September & October birthdays in a couple weeks.

26th: Was asked to submit a recipe for a new cookbook that our church is putting together, and it's due today. Since the last one was published in the 70's, this is exciting. But then I had total indecision about what to choose. I felt like I was going to be judged by what I selected to have put in the book, like if people thought it would sound gross, or weird, or be too easy (silly, I know). In the end I chose to send my Frittata recipe because: I make them fairly often so I stand by it as a GOOD recipe, it's easy to change to your own taste once you know the method, and I was fairly certain it would be the only one like it in the book. It'll stand apart from all the Chicken Divan, ya know? Mmmmm, doesn't it look yummy?

29th: Can't go to Sandy's shower b/c we're meeting with a realtor and with her parents living a good 2 hours away from me (where it was to be held), I didn't have enough turn around time. Very bummed about that one. Drop her present off at my friend Debbie's house so she can take it to the shower for me. But the meeting with the realtor went well. After three hours of talk, we're now serious home buyers; after Joe is off probation with work on Oct. 15, everything is good to go!! It is crazy cool to think that we might just get to celebrate Christmas in our own, new home this year. It makes coming back to this little apartment tough, so I just keep telling myself we'll be outta here soon, I can hang in there just a little more.

So, come on October!! Can't wait to see what you're gonna bring me!

Monday, September 3, 2007

La Dolce Vita

I'm home! After a whirlwind 10 days, 3 blisters, 618 pictures, many euros, 3 train rides and 3 cities later, I'm back home in good old CA. In all honesty, I'm a little dazed. It's a little cruel actually how life demands that you hop right back into the routine at full speed ahead. It seems like you need an extra 3 days to process where you were and what you saw. I don't know where to start. I feel like there's so much to share and tell and describe, how do you encapsulate our adventure in one little blog? It would be big, boring, and probably scare all you off reading my posts for sure. So what I think I'll do is share things by topic, and sorta spread it out. So have some patience with me. I will say now, however, that it was definitely the trip of a lifetime, and something that I'll be forever grateful that we decided to do now, rather than relegate into the category of "someday". In Italy, they say they live the "dolce vita", or "sweet life", and I have to completely agree. The pace is slow. The people are wonderful. The food is amazing. Truly, whether you're at a little mom & pop trattoria, or a tiny pizzeria, or a big hostelaria, you can't get a bad meal. The blend of ancient and modern together in Rome, Florence, and Venice is beautiful and surreal. You feel richer just for seeing the things that those cities have to offer you, be it works from the masters like Michelangelo and da Vinci, old ruins from the Forum built by slaves, or the lazy rivers that glide through the cities. Rome absolutely stole our hearts, and will forever be a special place to us. On our last night there before we flew home the next morning, we went to our favorite restaurant in the city, and then walked across the street to the Colosseum, where we laid out on the grass in front of it, and got some amazing pictures. It was the perfect way to say goodbye. Even though I could have stayed on vacation for a whole lot longer, 10 days was a good amount of time - we left in love with Italy wanting more, rather than feeling like we were sick and tired of living our of our suitcases and just ready to be home. The funny thing about travel though, it once you get a taste of it, you want more, more, more!! On the plane ride home the wheels were already turning as to where we could explore next. It would be really nice if we could swing another big trip before any wee-ones come along. But I don't know...if we get into a house, that's where all the $$$ will be going... so who knows. It is nice to be home though. Nothing feels as good as your own sheets, pillow, and bed, plus this is the land of complementary ice with your drinks. And fall is almost here, which means my birthday is just around the corner, as well as my favorite season of the year. So stay tuned, much more to follow...Ciao!