Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas 2016!!

Hello everyone!

I stopped blogging after this summer because a lot of changes were happening in my life, and I didn't feel like documenting everything here during that time. I know some people record everything on their blogs--the good and the bad--but I wanted to keep this as a place to look back on fond memories.

When I stopped blogging this summer, I actually thought that I was done with blogging forever. I didn't really even think about this blog very much until this winter when a few people asked to reference the memories stored in these blog posts. It was so nice to look back on the memories and the pictures accompanying them (and so easy to find!!) that I thought it would be fun to start again and record the memories that we are creating now for the future! 

This Christmas was a really special one for our family because our family was the biggest it has been yet!  Baby bro brought his girlfriend and Zenas came with me to visit Seattle, and it was so nice to be a part of a big, bustling household! =)  Usually, we open presents on Christmas morning, but this year, Peter, Zenas and I decided to go skiing, so we put off the normal Christmas festivities until the next day.  Last winter, our family went to Schweitzer to ski, but due to a few scheduling conflicts, we stayed near Seattle (Stevens Pass) for this winter break! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Golden Year

RIP McKinley and Bernie.
You have both enriched my life in so many ways, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Loss is always difficult, but the memories they have left behind and the experiences and the joys they have gifted me will be treasured forever.

There has also been a different kind of loss that has been just as difficult as the loss of my two dear friends, but it's my golden year, and I'm determined to start a new chapter.

It was suggested that I make a list of the things that I am grateful for, and actually, that has helped me quite a bit.  Despite everything, I am very blessed to lead the life that I lead, doing what I love, and to be surrounded by people who are full of love and light.

just a few from my very long list include...
  • family
  • soulmate
  • friends both old and new
  • mentors
  • music (the journey, the experiences, the love, the relationships, the trials)
  • new places and new experiences
  • precious memories and the lessons learned

Life is so short, so unpredictable, so fragile.

Striving to love every moment, every minute, and every being more deeply, more fiercely, and more bravely.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

David's Surprise Birthday Party

Hello everyone!

It's been awhile, but I wanted to stop by because summer break has started, and more importantly, it was David's birthday yesterday!

Since it was his big 30th birthday, I wanted to do something special for him and throw him a surprise birthday party!  I asked everyone to come at 6:30 with the plan to pick David up from work and bring him home around 7, but the plan almost fell completely apart.  At 6, David called me and said that he already left work and was walking home instead of waiting for me to pick him up from work.  It takes about half an hour to walk from his work to our place, so I panicked a little bit, and texted everyone to come ASAP.  Thankfully, we have amazing friends who ran over as fast as they could (one even ran out of the shower to get here on time  haha) and we were able to assemble before he got here!


It was a little stressful towards the end because everything had to be done super quickly(thanks dear...), but it was also fun to set everything up.  Initially I was going to use plastic cups, but when I ran into these cute little milk jars, and couldn't pass them up!  I think they ended up being only a little more expensive, and I thought it added a cute touch =)

the first wave of friends as we waited for David

The birthday cake!
I didn't really have a theme in mind, but somehow, the theme became green/blue as I was assembling the spread, and there happened to be a perfect cake that matched the theme!  It was a green tea/blueberry cake, and it was absolutely delicious!

such beautiful peeps =)

After the food, we got together for some friendly competitive round of Taboo and other board games  ;)  We could have gone easy on the birthday boy, but that's just not how we work around here =p  haha

After a round or two, I presented David with the last part of his birthday presents  =)  

We had all of these amazing pictures taken with Kate last year, but we had never printed any of them!  It was a good chance to get one blown up so that he could hang it wherever he wanted in our home =)

Happiest of birthdays, my dearest David.  Hope your 30th year will be the best yet  =D

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spring Break in Maine :: Portland

Hello everyone!

This spring break could not have come at a better time!  
The weather is gorgeous, David hasn't had a break from work since July, and I was also ready for a break from Boston. While I love the pace of life at this point in Boston, it gets so busy that we hardly ever have time to relax and just spend time as a couple anymore.  This is probably also why I never blog anymore..  it's hard to find the time to sit down and blog, and when I do, it seems that all I've done is work haha

Anyway, since we had such a good time in Maine last year at Acadia National Park, we decided to try Maine again for our getaway!  Acadia is a little far (about 6 hours from Boston with rest stops) so we settled on Camden, Maine with stops in Portland!

As soon as we landed in Portland, we made a beeline to Holy Donut, my favorite donut shop!  We tried 3 flavors last time when we fell in love with this place, and this time we tried 3 different flavors.

My favorite was this dark chocolate coconut one, but the other one, mocha something..., was good too!  haha  
David said the old-fashioned was good with coffee, but as a non-coffee drinker, I wasn't as much of a fan =)

After having stuffed our tummies with donuts, we went for a stroll around town to burn some of it off before lunch haha

Our strolls lead us to the Portland Museum of Art, and we spent an hour or so browsing their collection.  It was a pretty small museum, but it had some interesting works, and we had a good time!

David and the sleeping Tom Sawyer

The part that intrigued me the most was that the museum had a house as a part of its collection.  It was owned by a wealthy merchant back in the day, and they had renovated and opened it up to the public as a part of the museum.  

My favorite part was this staircase  haha

They don't build staircases like these anymore!

Having decided that an hour of art museum stroll was enough to burn off 3 donuts, we headed off to find some lunch at the Green Elephant.

A little vegetarian Asian fusion to kick off the next part of our road trip!  =)

With full bellies, we headed north to Camden, Maine, where some winter hiking and a lovely stay at the Hartstone Inn awaited us.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Paradise Island :: Culebra, Puerto Rico

Hello everyone,

Do you know what the best antidote is to living in a cold/snowy place like Boston (or Iowa) during the winter?  Dreaming about being a mermaid on a paradise island...  like... maybe Puerto Rico.  =)

I must say, going through the pictures of our snorkeling adventures was the perfect way to spend a snowy afternoon in Boston.  In case you are also stuck in a snow wonderland and want to see more, here are a few more photos of our time near paradise island called Culebra.

On our last full day in Puerto Rico, our wonderful hotel front desk set us up with a catamaran island tour involving snorkeling.  

Though the ride over was a bit rough and half of the boat got sea sick, once we got there, all agreed that it was completely worth it!  I mean would you look at this view!  This crystal clear water!!

And it got even better once we got to the beach!  We 'parked' the boat, and swam to shore.

clearly, we were very happy!  haha

the sand was the softest I had ever felt, and it was so clean!  
We lounged about on the beach, enjoyed the sun (a little too much, as we found later that night), and tried to take a jumping photo.  

we.... almost succeeded...  haha

we just needed one more frame!  haha

After having spent some time sun bathing, we went back out into the ocean to continue our transformation into mermaids.

 with goggles and snorkeling equipment...  mermaids have these, right?  haha

Anyway, this was the closest we had ever been to a reef, and it was so amazing!  

We also swam closer to the shore to see if we could find turtles.  After all, we were on a beach called Turtle Beach!  Sadly though, we never saw turtles.  We did see a giant stingray though!  That was the most exciting wildlife sighting of the trip  haha

We were initially a bit wary of going with a tour company, but we are so glad we went with East Island Excursions! The crew was very friendly (without being overbearing), the boat was very clean, the food was delicious, and the captain really took the time to get to find us the best place to snorkel!

and we really did have the best time!

a day spent snorkeling, lounging, swimming, jumping off of boats, eating amazing food (especially fruits).. all surrounded by incredible views everywhere?  I would do it again in a heart beat!

Boston is about to be hit again with a giant snowstorm tomorrow.  All of the schools are closed except Boston University, and I have an 8 AM class to teach...  I think it's time for another girls trip to Puerto Rico, don't you think?  haha (but really....)   =p

Hope you are all staying safe, dry, and warm!
Thanks for stopping by!