Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve Eve

Dale and I had a nice spontaneous date night last night, enjoying the pretty lights along the coast line from Laguna Beach to Dana Point Harbor.  Dale had just finished showing property in Laguna Beach and I was out shopping when we called one another and decided to meet up.  I got to see our new dream home, a lovely 2 million dollar house in south Laguna Beach with a fantastic view of the ocean that  Dale had showed earlier in the day.  It is a very interesting home; a 2 million dollar fixer upper that needs some TLC but has a  a lot of potential, and the view is really incredible.  It was fun to see it and to it would be great if his clients buy it.

 We drove up to the Ritz Carlton.  The driveway  is beautifully lit with blue lights in all of the trees and some really fun meteor shower lights that look like shooting stars in some of the trees.  Then we drove on to Dana Point Harbor to find a place to eat more suited to my casual attire.  A seafood restaurant in Dana Point harbor was one of our first dates, so we always get a little romantically nostalgic when we go to the harbor, which is fun.  We ate at El Torito this time, and had a table with a lovely view of the harbor with many of the boats docked outside  lit up with Christmas lights.   It was very colorful and fun,  plus we enjoyed the margaritas!  There is a cute shop in Dana Point harbor that we always enjoy browsing in.  They have art and Jewelry and other nice gifts.  Years ago we bought a small painting there, and a few other things over the years.  Last night Dale picked out a very pretty pearl necklace and had me try it on.  I loved it and Dale very sweetly bought it for me.  It is really pretty; pink pearl and silver chain with dangling small crystals and a very interesting pendant made of pearl, gems and crystal.  Dale has a good eye for pretty jewelry and he spoils me!
My pretty necklace, the pearls are pinker then they appear
All in all it was a very fun way to celebrate New Years Eve Eve.  Lots of fun and no pressure to stay out past midnight.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Santa brought me a bike!

I think I must have been very very good this year, plus checking in with the big guy for the first time in 20 years probably helped (I sat on Santa's lap this year).  Much to my delight and surprise Santa brought me a bike for Christmas!  Well actually Dale and Becky picked it out...but didn't they do a good job?  It's  a purple Electra 3 speed cruiser with pretty gold "henna" tattoos painted on.  I wasn't expecting a bike and didn't even know I wanted one, but we immediately fell in love.  I have taken her out for one or two short rides a day since I got her.  My head is definitely into it;  it is taking my legs and rump a little while to catch up!

Me and my bike went out Christmas light looking in the neighborhood a couple of days after Christmas and here is some of what we saw.

The bike enjoying the lights....aint she a beaut!

Pretty view, pretty bike, Horray!

Christmas 2010

Our  Christmas stockings were too stuffed to risk hanging by the chimney with care, so they were all lined up on the Hearth Christmas morning. We had a wonderful Christmas starting with Christmas Eve dinner which has become a family tradition. We missed having my niece Autumn and her husband Brett with us this year, but my niece April and her friend Lana were visiting from Pennsylvania so we still had a houseful, plus my parents and brother Jason for Christmas Eve and Melody, Tim, Jaina and Gavin for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Christmas was warm and cozy here but the rain earlier in the week wreaked havoc on my Mom and Dad's place.  The drain behind their bedroom clogged and their room filled up with muddy water.  They were busy cleaning up at their place, the girls moved over to our house for the holidays and our traditional Christmas Day dinner at Mom and Dad's place was cancelled.   We enjoyed a relaxed Christmas day here though.  We always have a big Christmas morning; opening the presents under the tree and the stockings.  Every year we also have the tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve.  The gift is always the pajamas for everybody.  We open them up one at a time and while the person is opening them we take turns saying what we like and appreciate about that person.  It was fun to include April and Lana in the tradition.  Gavin was a good sport and we just passed him around the room during his turn and took turns saying nice things to him...what a sweet, happy little baby he is!   Jaina kind of enjoyed being the one to open up most of our presents, although she grew increaingly less excited about their content.  Autumn and Brett even joined in via Skype and got to open up their PJ's I had sent to them in Spokane.  

Everybody liked their comfy Pj's so much, I don't think April and Lana took them off all day!
Becky with the stuffed owl that Autumn made her.

April and Lana
It is so much fun having the little ones around during the holidays!  Gavin and Jaina really light the place up and bring us all so much joy!  Melody and Tim came back for Christmas afternoon too and we opened more gifts and had ham and Eldorado for dinner.
Gavin and I with one of his presents

Jaina with her new Camera on her Daddy Tim's lap

Jaina seemed to really like the Fisher Price digital camera that we got her.  She took a lot of extreme close ups of everyone. I am sure when they upload the photos there will be a lot of interesting eyeball and nose shots.   She and her photography loving mommy had a little shoot out with them chasing each other around the house taking pictures amongst squeals of laughter.  Jaina was really into it.

Gavin looked dashing in the little Santa suit we got him with his cute mommy Melody.

Becky and Jaina play in their pillow fort. There is always lots of play time with miss Jaina in the house!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Tree Adventure!

Christmas 2010

"You picked the best possible day to do this" the garden center man said in all seriousness as the rain poured down on Dale And I.  We were cold and drenched so we had to laugh but he said "No really of the few days you have left the next couple of days the rain is going to be a lot worse and with stronger winds too".     I consider it a testament to our marriage that we were still laughing and cheerful at that point, plus the guy made an interesting point; no matter what the situation it usually could be worse!  We were soaked and had been for a good 3 hours but we were both happy;  me because we had finally found a couple of nice looking Christmas trees that were still in pretty good shape and Dale because I was happy and the trees were half off.   We started our two Christmas tree tradition right after we were married, one for the living room with white lights and a "theme" and one for the family room with colored lights and collected ornaments.  Christmas morning always involves a little time sitting below each tree and opening gifts.  We have tried to cut back to just one tree but this has led to massive protests by Becky, our vocal traditionalist and a girl who clearly recognized that two trees would  logically produce more gifts than just one.  Becky is in college now with her own place in LA, but still very much about traditions....and lots of presents.

What led us into our messy adventure is that we had waited until a mere 4 days until Christmas eve to put up our trees, an all time low.  The root of the problem as I see it is that the last couple of years we were kind of busy, and though not nearly this late when we went to get the trees, we were plenty late.  When we arrived at Lowes to pick up the trees two years ago, all of the trees had been marked down to $5.00!  This appealed greatly to Dale's sense of a bargain.  Of course most of the trees were beyond redemption but they had a couple of great big trees that were huge and still really green.  These were like 14 footers.  We figured out that we could tie them to the roof of my car, most likely without crushing it,  took a chance and took them home and cut them just about in half and we had two really beautiful Christmas trees...$5.00 each. Last year when we arrived unintentionally late, the trees were once again all $5.00, and they were fresh and lovely but all only about 3 and a half feet tall.  We tried a couple of other places in town, but no luck.  So we got creative with the 3 1/2  foot trees.  I knew Becky would be disappointed by the mini trees so I did a little creative stacking to make 2 trees seem almost like one in the family room and I thought it turned out pretty cute.  We had another small tree for the living room. When Becky heard about the mini trees though she drove all over Fullerton until she found a nice tree and drove out with it on the roof of the car.  I was already done decorating when she happily came home announcing that she had saved Christmas!  We set up the fourth tree on the other side of the family room!

Christmas 2009 double stacked tree
Unfortunately the past couple of years have just strengthened Dale's resolve that if we just wait a little while we can get a great deal on the Christmas trees.  Dale is by no means cheap.  He is a very generous person, but he loves a bargain!  I  like a bargain too but I like the feeling that I have the big Christmas tasks done and I also enjoy seeing the trees up for a while.  Early on I picked out a tree from Lowes and drove it up to Becky in LA so she had a nice tree, but Dale was intentionally dragging his feet on getting ours because he wanted that great buy!  So when we finally headed over to pick out the trees yesterday not only were the pickings horribly slim, the prices were not cheap!  Dale recognizing the impending "I told you sos!"  tried his best to sell me on a nice $30.00 partially brown model with a smooshed in backside.  No such luck, we went a hunting!  And of course I had to take a few minutes to re-educate him so that he did not miss the point that waiting on the Christmas trees was not always going to be a good thing!  Fortunately at this point, and to his credit, Dale became very eager to please me and so we hit up a couple of other tree lots.  It was raining, so it was not that easy to differentiate the totally dried out models.  My first clue that the trees at the Drug store were too dried out was when I ran my hand down the branch to check for loose pine needles and the whole branch came off in my hand.  Not a good sign!

And so began our 4 hour adventure in the pouring rain to find the perfect Christmas Tree. It rarely rains in Southern California, but as luck would have it we waited until we had a full on squall to bring a tree home.   After several failed attempts and a good soaking at every stop, we finally made our way to Green Thumb nursery.  I spotted our tree as soon as we stepped out of the car.  It was nice and green because it had been kept in a stand in water, had a nice shape and was half off!  We found another smaller one for the living room and loaded up on poinsettias while we were there.  I love shopping at Green thumb nursery.  Anyplace that lets me shop with a little red wagon is pretty cool in my book!

The trees are in and finally up and even though it was a long wet day, I spent it with my honey so we had a good time!  Merry Christmas!
Christmas 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

15 Year Anniversary

December 2nd was Dale and my 15th wedding anniversary.  My lovely sweet hubby surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of two toned ruby roses and a couple of lovely crystal wine glasses and bottles of wine.  The 15th wedding anniversary is crystal and roses and apparently mucus as it turns out.  I had tentatively planned a little overnight trip to what looks like a very cute hotel nearby in Riverside.  The Mission Inn hotel is in downtown Riverside and every year they have a "festival of Lights"  with about 3.5 million lights all over the outside of the hotel and nearby buildings.  I haven't seen it yet but I read about it in the paper and it  looks Christmas-y and fun and I thought would be kind of a neat way to celebrate 15 years together.  Unfortunately I have been fighting a cold since Thanksgiving and just when I was starting to feel human again, Dale came down with it.  So we agreed to postpone the celebration and  hopefully we will still make it out there this season.  Since I had been cooped up for too long, I went out and met Becky for a nice breakfast and visit in Fullerton before her classes and then did a little Christmas shopping.  Dale stayed home in bed, but much to my surprise when I got home he had crawled out and knew that the 15 year anniversary is crystal and roses and had purchased a beautiful bouquet of long stem roses and made up a pretty basket with the crystal glasses and wine.  What a sweetheart!  I knew there was a reason I married that man!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Small World Christmas With Small Ones

Monday brought a day of fun and adventure with my niece Melody, Jaina and baby Gavin at Disneyland. We wanted to go and see the beautiful christmas decorations, and we were not disappointed.  Disney really knows how to spread the Holiday cheer and it was lovely.  Gavin is such a sweet agreeable little baby.  He was adorable all day long and seemed to really enjoy being outside even though it was stinking cold!  

 Jaina has now reached the stage where she is requesting exactly which rides she wants to go on, which took her Disneyland loving mommy a bit by surprise.

We exited the monorail and couldn't get past the exit without Jaina stopping and insisting we ride the Autotopia.  This was a good deal for her since Melody and I did the rider switch so she got to drive twice.  It was a wild ride let me tell you with her completely in charge of the wheel.  Fortunately the ride has that lovely track running down the middle so you can't go too far off course,  and we came to know it very well from smacking into it as many times as possible.  I kept my foot on the gas and she steered us.  Here are a few pictures of her  taking me on a wild and crazy ride.
 Mr toad has nothing on her!
What a little sweetheart! 

 To my surprise she also wanted to ride the "Scary monster ride" which is the Matterhorn.  I kept asking her if she was sure, and she was, so she and I rode it, and she was quiet the whole time.  When we got off I asked her if she wanted to ride it again and she said no!  Not too sure she liked that one, but she didn't get upset and it was her idea!

I had such a sweet moment on It' s Small World, with Jaina in the crook of my arm and Gavin looking all around on my knee and their sweet mama by my side.  Small World is all done up for Christmas with really cute decorations inside and out and the chorus of It's a Small World is blended with Christmas carols.  What a great way to ring in the holiday. So much Christmasy love.  Jaina reached up with her little hand and cradled my face then rubbed her cheek on mine while we were mid-ride and I knew she was feeling it too.  So sweet!

Melody and Gavin

The Outside of the ride wasn't lit yet when we were boarding, but just as we pulled out and were in the best possible location in the boat, on sprang all of the Christmas lights outside, a spectacular "WOW".

Merry Christmas!