Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sisters, Cousins, Rosa's, and The Crowded House

I was lonesome for some babies, and I am certain you can see why. I am in love with these two little precious souls. Mayla is almost ten weeks old, and Evan is almost six weeks. It has been so fun to watch the progress of their personalities as they grow. For instance, Evan perfectly personifies an old man as he sports his new bald-on-top look. T'liese thinks he is starting to grow some fuzz back on top to fill everything in, but it's coming out blond! So he will still have dark sides and a light top and still look like an old man! It didn't stop him from getting lots of loving during our visit.

T'liese and Evan arrived at my house to pick me up for lunch. We headed to a yummy Mexican place not too far from my house, Rosa's. While waiting outside for Megan and Mayla to arrive, we enjoyed the aromas of some good Mexican cookin' while oohing and aahing over everything Evan did. What a cutie! Once the Phoenix girls arrived, we headed in to get a table. The main attraction was certainly these two good-looking babies. Mayla was wearing brown with pink polka dots, and she is sure a pretty girl! She has started to smile and even gave a tiny one for the camera. Evan knows he looks good and doesn't bother smiling yet. For lunch, I had a pork taco with rice and beans, T'liese got some chicken enchiladas, and Megan enjoyed a chicken tosdada with an authentic Mexican strawberry soda. The chips and salsa were delicious, too. You can't go wrong with Mexican food in Mesa! But certainly most of our attention was paid to these beautiful babies, and rightly so.

After our grown-up meal, two hungry babies insisted we head back to my house for some lunch of their own. We chatted while they ate. The moms came up with the idea to lay them side-by-side to compare their sizes. It won't be long before they will look the same age, but for now Mayla has some advantage over her younger cousin. Once she spotted Evan, she started talking to him in "coos." It was so sweet! Can you tell these kids are slightly liked?

Megan had to head home for some errands, so we parted ways upstairs. T'liese and I headed north to a store she has been wanting to show me, and I completely understand why! It's an eclectic furniture store called The Crowded House on Gilbert Road and McKellips, and it is amazing! I certainly wouldn't want to decorate my entire house in this style (weathered, went-through-a-hurricane look), but it would be fun to grab a few pieces here and there. Is it wrong to already be furniturizing my future home? It doesn't even exist yet! I DID manage to find a dining set that I fell in love with. I hope when we are ready to get a dining set, this one will still be available. I love walking through stores like this. It was so packed with beautiful furniture that T'liese's stroller wouldn't fit through the aisles! I am sure she didn't mind getting to hold him while he slept. Babies really do have the life!

It was such a fun day with family and sweet tiny people. As soon as they leave, I start planning the next time I will get to see them. They just keep getting better and better! I am so blessed to live so close to family as to be able to enjoy them whenever I want.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Big Day

I may be the only one in our household who is thrilled about graduation coming up on May 15th. John can hardly wait to be done with school, but the parading of graduates is the part he isn't eagerly anticipating. Quite frankly, he could care less. He didn't even walk for his undergraduate degree two years ago. Because this time around his tuition includes the cost of cap, gown, and any other trinkets associated with graduation, he is going to walk with his fellow business school classmates for a short ceremony on Saturday, May 15th at 9:00 AM at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. Are you writing this down?

To celebrate such a monumental occasion, I thought it would be a great idea to order some graduation announcements to herald to the world his incredible accomplishment. I mean, come on! He works full-time and still finishes his Masters Degree in one year in the executive program at Arizona State University for the Masters of Science in Information Management. It's just a neat way to pronounce Computer Geekology. In addition to the timing of his degree, he also aced it. Literally. He got straight A's the entire year, despite me being home occasionally and having it be my number-one priority to get him to skip an hour of studying and homework to spend his precious time with me. He has attended class from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Monday and Wednesday nights since last June and has also attended several all-day required Saturday conferences. Additionally, he has been working on a group project equating to a thesis (presenting it to a board of faculty this Saturday!) since last July and has always been so patient with his teammates when they don't come through on time with their portion of the work. He is smart enough to just do it for them, and he is certainly the editor for their group when it comes to proofreading and fixing glaring errors in information. John is the man. After such an incredible year for this guy, I thought it only fitting to order twenty-five announcements for family to inform them of his incredible accomplishments throughout this past year. He vetoed that, saying he didn't care and neither would anyone else. Ha! I couldn't let this event pass by without letting his family know how stinkin' awesome he is.

So I decided to MAKE the announcements. That's right. By hand. From scratch. Even the ASU seal is my own design, printing it from my beloved HP laser jet to some stickers. I enjoy doing things like this, and it is always more fun when it means I get to brag about my man. If you don't receive one of these precious announcements in the mail, it's nothing personal. My fingers simply couldn't take another week of folding, tearing, cutting, pasting, and printing. It still hurts to touch things! I guess I need to do more manual labor around here to prevent this from happening next time. And I have burned too many tanks of gas returning to JoAnn's Crafts to get additional supplies. Despite all of this, I am tickled with how they turned out. I was worried about them looking homemade, but I had to let that concern go since I had been forbidden to purchase the real things. It makes it more personal anyway, right, to have a homemade handicraft? Now comes the hard part...waiting another few weeks before I can mail them out. How early is too early to get an announcement in the mail? I'd mail them today if it didn't seem a little impatient!

I am very proud of my man. He works hard at everything he does, and this will only set us up even better down the road to be great parents and have a wonderful family. I am one lucky lady to be married to such a man. I think our children have a 1 in 80 chance of being pretty smart, too. It just won't be their mommy they go to for help with math homework...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Things To Do In Canada On A Day Off

I start to miss work when I haven't gone anywhere for a few weeks. I was looking through some old pictures this morning to reminisce about the good ol' days when I used to go to work every week. Not to worry...this is historically a time of year that most meetings are scheduled in Phoenix, so quite often the airplane isn't needed every week. Who would want to leave 80 degrees to fight blizzards or floods in the rest of the country? It simply means I end up having a few weeks at home. I never know when I have time off...but when Friday night rolls around and I still haven't been called to go to work, I correctly assume that I had that week off and didn't even know it. Surprise! Anyway, I found some pictures of a wonderful trip almost two years ago and thought I would share. It reminds me that I DO travel for a living and DO have a job that I love!

We were in one of my favorite Canadian destinations of Vancouver, British Columbia. I love most destinations in Canada, but only from about June to about August when the temperatures are humanly tolerable. All other times of the year, it's uninhabitable! I lived in North Dakota for four winters, so I am entitled to make such harsh statements about crappy winter weather. This particular trip to Canada was in April, so still rather chilly. I think the high for the day was 52 degrees, which is pretty cold for my now-Phoenix standards. But I had a whole day off in the city and couldn't wait to start. My co-worker and I, Terry, had rented a car to use during our stay in Vancouver. This is not a normal occurrence for us, but we knew our passengers were working in the city for several days that week, and we didn't want to be car-less when it came time to find a place to eat for four days! With our car rental came an unexpected treasure...a free coupon book to the city! It gave us free entrance to several popular attractions like the history museum, space museum, art museum, aquarium, and a free ride in a horse-drawn wagon. For someone who likes to watch where her pennies are spent, this was an indescribable treat...I now had access to so many fun things in an incredible city but had to dish out very little of my own money to do it! After the day was over, I counted what the cost would have been had I not used coupons galore. It would have been over $200! For some reason, free is always better.

The Vancouver Science Museum was my first stop, and I admired the neat-o shape of the building as I arrived. It was fun to wander around pretending that I was a kid again. Then I visited the Vancouver Aquarium, where I spent several hours enjoying otters, seals, beluga whales, and overflying airplanes. Since the aquarium is located in Stanley Park, I enjoyed my free ride on the horse-drawn wagon and completely ignored that I was the only person on board. The driver gave a tour of Vancouver over a microphone, and it was a great way to learn about the city while basking in the smell of fresh manure and sweaty horses. I was around those aromas during most of my childhood, so it was fun to relive some memories! That big and beautiful green bridge was built by a local beer company to connect Vancouver to the North Shore, an exclusive community built back in the day to provide extravagant living to the wealthy of Canada. This Lion's Gate Bridge took over forty years to construct, thanks to constantly-changing city ordinances that made retaining a building permit nearly impossible. See? I was listening to the driver! I learned so much as I sat bundled up in a blanket that had been used by at least three million previous riders. Maybe that's why it was so warm?

I had been slightly camera-happy that day, so the batteries didn't last for the duration of my Vancouver exploring. After Stanley Park, we went to see the Museum of Vancouver. Although I have been able to patronize many museums in North America, this was certainly one of the best museums I had seen! The displays were amazing and informative...just the way I like them! The museum also had a little space centre upstairs where I watched an almost-3D movie about the origination of the stars according to the local Native Americans, the Nahane. Did I mention this was all free? I love learning (Nerd Alert!) and certainly found several happy places throughout this day.

After the museum, we found a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed a yummy dinner as evening quickly approached. Vancouver is such an incredible city to visit and certainly one of my favorites. It was fun to experience so many things the city has to offer but without spending much of my own money. I can deal with colder temperatures if it means I get spoiled like this!

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