Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Looking forward

I decided to make a list of eight random things I’m looking forward to. (I know, I normally stick to "high fives" but that just wasn't enough for this blog entry. Plus eight is great!)
Here’s what I came up with:

1. Getting our puppy

2. Giving soccer another go (fingers crossed that my knee agrees with this decision)

3. Trying to snowboard for the first time ever*

4. Learning a new job*

5. Becoming an experienced wine taster*

6. Driving across the country with my husband (and puppy – see number 1)*

7. Seeing Matt graduate

8. Getting a full size couch*

Notice those asterisks? There are five of them. That’s because five of the eight things I am looking forward to involve a very exciting change for Matt and I…a move to Sacramento, California! On November 25, Matt verbally accepted a professor position with California State University Sacramento (or Sacramento State if you’re hip). He has to be on campus on August 2 so we’ll move sometime before then. The moving details are very much up in the air but we are very excited for that day to come (especially for Matt because that will mean his dissertation is complete)! I’ve never been to Sacramento so feel free to tell me what you know, love and/or hate about it. For now, I’ll expand on the five things I asterisked above:

3. Trying to snowboard for the first time ever: IN TAHOE. It’s a quick drive from Sacramento. Feel free to visit us and ski/snowboard!

4. Learning a new job: I will not be bringing my current job with me to Sacramento. While a job search is daunting right now, I am still very excited to see what opportunities await! Know of any?

5. Becoming an experienced wine taster: in NAPA VALLEY! It’s just a quick drive from Sacramento too. Again, feel free to visit us!

6. Driving across the country with my husband: I’m excited for this adventure. Who knows where the drive will take us! We do plan on driving through Kansas to see Josh & Lacy, my Grandma and my aunt. We are open to suggestions on where else we should pass through.

7. Getting a full size couch: we only have a love seat as it is and it doesn’t make sense to buy furniture when a move is coming so soon. As much as we like to snuggle up on our love seat, I really look forward to having a couch that I can actually sprawl out on!

So that’s our big news. Sacramento here we come! There are so many other things we look forward to about this move, like living closer to and being in the same time zone as most of our friends and family. And we hope to get lots of visitors so feel free to start planning your trips now! I am so proud of Matt for going around the country interviewing with schools and landing a job with one of our top picks.

Excitement Abounds

Tomorrow Matt and I are boarding a plane to head West! I am so excited! We start off our visit home in Vancouver & Battle Ground to see my family.
And then head North to Federal Way on Christmas day to be with Matt's parents. After spending some quality time with our families, we'll be heading down to San Diego for NYE and a friend's wedding. I'm so excited for all of it! But I am especially excited to see the little ones because they can change so much in just a few months.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stories of the South

When I first moved to Knoxville I was very observant of how the South is different than the Pacific Northwest. I blogged about it here. I still notice many oddities of the South but I sort of forgot to document and share them on my blog. Now that Matt and I know we only have 6-8 months** left in the South, I feel the pressure to note my experiences in the South.

At work on Friday, I was talking with a few people about our upcoming office move and the office dynamics. We work in the tallest building in downtown Knoxville, the First Tennessee Bank Building.
So we're talking and my coworker Michelle said something that was a quick reminder that I live in the South. Before I tell you what she said, you should have a picture of Michelle in your head. She is in her thirtys, dresses fairly trendy, has a pretty "hot" body, has fake red nails and often wears bright red lipstick. She comes across as a very girly girl. Are you picturing her? Something like this only with a little more skin showing:
Then somehow she slips this into the conversation: "Can you believe we can't bring guns into the office? I mean, if though I have a license to carry it, I can't have it here because of the bank. It's so stupid."

Hmm...Okay. Didn't expect her of all people to want to carry a gun. And why in the world would she think she needs to carry it around in lil' old downtown Knoxville? Definitely not something I would have heard at my old office in Vancouver, WA!

And then, to cap the day off, we had our Christmas party in the office and at least 4 guys pulled out pocket knifes at different times to cut open presents. Now I recognize that many guys carry pocket knifes so that isn't that unusual, but in combination with the gun comment, I was totally cracking up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I read this on a blog while back and it really resonated with me. It's something I plan to put up in the house some where. And since the holidays are a great time to celebrate love, family and friends, I decided I would also post this on my blog:

May your home be filled with laughter and the warm embrace of a summer’s day,
May you find peace and beauty,
Challenge and satisfaction,
Humor and insight,
Healing and renewal,
Love and wisdom.
May you always feel that what you have is enough.

I love it! I love the home Matt and I have in Knoxville. And I love going to my other two "homes" for the holiday (my parents' house and Matt's parents' house). Ever since I've been with Matt, my whole idea of home has changed . It’s no longer one apartment or townhouse that is home. Home is wherever we are. This of course, is top of mind as we are looking ahead to a move in the summer and will have a very different home than we do now. Plus, home just got a little more exciting now that we’re married. We just got our very first Christmas tree together and got to make new memories of decorating it while playing Christmas music and wearing holiday headgear! I tried new Thanksgiving recipes that could very well become part of our traditional Thanksgiving meal every year.
Happy Holidays! I hope your home is bursting with love, happiness and memories!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

White men (and women) can jump!

This is another favorite picture from the wedding. I'm quite proud of how high I was able to jump in heels and a wedding dress. I love everyone's expressions and different jumping styles. I think I'll try to edit out the parking lines and then have this one framed.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Documenting the wedding

We officially have all of our wedding photos from our wonderful photographer, Nikki of Moxie Images. There are 745 pictures so it is a bit overwhelming. But I think this is our favorite. You can tell that we are both overjoyed to say our vows and make our lifelong commitment to each other. We are so thankfully for Nikki's photography and home video that captured this moment because it was so surreal that neither of us remember it that vividly. Stay tuned...I'm sure I will be sharing more pictures with you in the near future!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Darth Vader crashed our wedding!

As a gift to our two ring bearers (our nephews), we got them Darth Vader costumes since they both are VERY into Star Wars. It was getting to be the end of the wedding and we still hadn't given the boys their gifts. Trent started to have a slight meltdown. I don't blame him! It was a LONG day, lots of posing for pictures and he had all that pressure of bringing the ring pillow (sans rings) down the aisle! That's a lot for a four year old to handle! So he was in the back room, crying while Mark, my awesome brother-in-law, cuddled him up. I broke out the gift in hopes that it would be enough to cheer up little Trent. He tried to resist the excitement and continue to be sad, but that only lastest for about 15 seconds before he was ecstatic and HAD to get the costume on right away. Resulting in awesome pictures like this:
(thanks for the photo Josh!)

Corbin happily put his costume on too so we had two little Darth Vaders roaming around...a priceless memory from our wedding!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Honeymoon - wrapping up with the classic self portraits

Here's the situation: You're on your honeymoon and you want pictures of both you and your new husband. You could ask a stranger every time, or there is always the good old standby of the self portrait. Take the camera, stick your arm out as far as you can, try to guess what is centered and give it a whirl. You guys know what I'm talking about!

Here are all our best self-portrait shots! Get ready for a lot of close ups of Matt and I!

Our last picture of the night of our wedding. SO HAPPY!

Flight from Spokane to Nashville - Sunday after the weding....tired!

Flight from Knoxville to Cancun - Honeymoon here we come!!

First day at the beach

Loving our honeymoon suite and comfy robes!

Do we look tanner yet? Another beach shot.

Beach front candelight dinner. So romantic!

Our one and only trip off the resort to Tulum

Enjoying dinner. Here we actually do look tanner.

Soaking up our last day at the beach.

And to wrap up, a very mushy honeymoon self-portrait.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Honeymoon - Towel designs

I love towel oragami - it's so fun to come back to your hotel room to find out what the towels will be that day. The resort offered a class several days a week. We had every intention of going but since we rarely knew what time it was, we never made it on time to learn all the ins and outs of making fun towel objects. Sigh....maybe next time!
This cute lil' guy was definitely my favorite. I tried to snuggle him up but then his head fell off. It was tramatic!
And since you're getting glimpses into our room, I'll show you a few more pictures that show off our lovely Swim-Up Jacuzzi Suite. I loved sitting outside our room in the lounge chairs that rested in about 6 inches of water. If I got warm while reading, I just plunked my toes in and hollered to Israel to ask for a cold, refreshing margarita!

Looking out our sliding glass door to the pool and 4 lounge chairs - two in the water and two out.
Cheers to our jacuzzi tub!
The pool right outside our door.
Picture taken in the pool looking towards our room.
Lounge chairs, books and frozen drinks - this was how we spent most afternoons.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Honeymoon - And we drank (part 3)

From my first two honeymoon posts, you've probably gathered that Matt and I did our fair share of drinking. We often started the day out with mimosas with breakfast and continued drinking throughout the day, enjoyed wine with dinner and hit up the bar afterwards. Ahhhh, have I mentioned how great the all-inclusive package was for us?

This is another picture heavy blog, but I figured I had the pictures to prove all the drinks we enjoyed, so why not share?

The picture below is the Swim-Up Bar that was right by our room. You can see the lounge chairs outside our room in the right hand side of the picture. It was a pretty hoping place. We got to meet lots of fun people here. One couple was from the tri-cities in Washington and shared our same wedding date. There were quite a few British people at the resort - we learned that there are quite a few direct flights to Cancun so it's a fairly easy destination for them. (A total side note: I'm fairly certain that the British folks were the reason there were so many topless women at the beach....there were lots of older women who never wore a bathing suit top and no, it wasn't pretty....hopefully Matt will blog about one woman in particular who we saw a lot of and even nicknamed - but never once spoke to.)
Here is Matt with our favorite bartender, Israel. He was the bartender at the Swim Up Bar featured in the picture above. We tipped him very well because his service was exceptional. He climbed over plans and our neighbor's porch to bring us our drinks so we didn't even have to swim up to the Swim Up Bar if we didn't want to.

The main bar had swings surrounding the entire bar.

Don't worry, we drank plenty of water too!

Waitresses also brought drinks out to our beachside lounge chairs.
This was my favorite drink - The Bahama Mama.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Honeymoon aka Food Indulgences (part 2)

What did we do at our resort? Well you already saw that we relaxed a lot. In between relaxing, we ate. A lot. One of the perks of an all-inclusive is that your meals are included so you feel completely justified in eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner and answering "Yes" every time a waiter asked if you would care for dessert. I'm happy to say I only gained 4 pounds - which is really hard to believe after I ate and drank so much only to lay pool- and beach-side. And no surprise - it came off as soon as I came home and started eating resonably.

So here is a little photo tour of the restaurants we enjoyed at the El Dorado Seaside suites.

The Mexican Restuarant - I'm blanking on the name...

See that ray of dips? It was three types of yummy salsa and their fresh guacemole. Notice how very few chips remain...it was very good!

Klay Talay

Yep - Matt's drinking wine and a mai tai. This was not uncommon...yet another perk of an all-inclusive, you're justified in ordering lots and lots of drinks!

Hmmm, everything sounds so good. What should we get? How about two types of sushi rolls, spring rolls and two entrees. And yes, we'll be ordering dessert too. See why I'm surprised I only gained 4 pounds?!

Yummy sushi!
Candlelight Dinner on the Beach

Our honeymoon package came with a complimentary candlelight dinner on the beach. It was so much fun! We ate dinner right around sunset and enjoyed a nice 2.5 hour dinner with lobster bisque, cheese fondue and dessert.

I have no idea what this dessert was but it was really good. And yep, those are empty shot glasses that were once filled with tequila. Since we met over a shot of tequila, we felt it was necessary to do a little toast and share a shot during our fancy dinner.
The International Restaurant

The food at the International Resturant was just okay. These pictures are from lunch one day, and yes, we indulged in dessert because we were on vacation and you can justify dessert with every meal. Look how cute (and happy) Matt looks with his margarita and chocolate-y goodness!
Mia Casa
On our last night we went to the Italian restuarant, Mia Casa. This was our second time to this restaurant - we don't have a picture of our first experience...partly because there was some major wine spillage on our part and we didn't really want to document with a photo! Both times we ate at Mia Casa, we ordered spaghetti. Such a simple dish, but they did it so well that neither one of us cared to try anything else! And this picture of course shows us eating dessert because that's how we roll.

One thing we noticed and really enjoyed about the restaurants were the portion sizes. We were served reasonable servings which left room for dessert and I didn't really walk away from any meal feeling uncomfortably full. The meals were served very leisurely. We sipped on drinks - often red wine and enjoyed wonderful company without being in a rush to get somewhere or feeling rushed that the restaurant wanted our table to seat the next guests. Though to be completely honest, my stomach was definitely not happy with me by the time we left - I was ready to detox a little and get back to my normal eating habits which don't include dessert with every meal (sad, but true).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Honeymoon -aka- Total Relaxation (part 1)

Matt and I honeymooned, as you may already know, at an all-inclusive, adults-only, beach resort in the Mayan Riveria called the El Dorado Seaside Suites. Many people before us have said it, and we'll be telling any engaged couples we come across: "Do an all-inclusive honeymoon, it is SO worth it. You will never regret it!"

We were so exhausted after the wedding and all of the traveling -- we left Spokane at 8 am on Sunday after the wedding, arrived in Nashville at 5 pm, drove back to Knoxville and got home at 9 pm. We left the very next morning at 9 am and arrived in Cancun around 4 pm and got to our resort around 7 pm. We were SO ready to relax. And relax we did! Here are some photos to show off the wonderful, very low-key resort we stayed in.

Here's the beach:
Here's how the beach looked from my point of view at the main bar (cleary with wine on hand).

Matt's view of the beach from a lounge chair.
Matt loves me thiiiiis much:
These beds were everywhere. For several of the days there, Matt and I claimed a bed like this on the beach in the morning and pulled up two lounge chairs too, so we had our choice of sun or shade. Then we relaxed there until it was time to trade a beach bed for the bed in our room for a mid-day siesta. See? Total relaxation!

A cute well.

A little random cabana right around the corner from our room (and one of the bars as you can see from Matt's double-fisting action).

The boardwalk. Matt is pondering life...or maybe he was just impersonating the seagulls from Finding Nemo and yelling "Mine, mine, mine, mine!" at the seagulls and chasing them away...you guess which one was true.
A random statue - check how green and lush everything on the grounds looks!

Of course there were also pools, bars and restaurants around the resort. I'll be sharing more photos of the pool outside our room, the bar outside our room, the main bar and our favorite restaurants in some of my next posts. Stay tuned!