Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slough Sunday

Today was the kind of day that Pacific Northwesterners dream of all winter long. Clear skies. 70 ish degrees. Gorgeous! 

We started our Sunday by taking Lexi for a stroll around Lake Padden. Poor Lexi. I feel as though she has been absolutely neglected. Sure, she still has daycare a couple of times a week and yes we've taken her for a few strolls here and there, but we have not been consistent these past several months. 

I get to blame the weather, my full time job, and the fact that the sun sets way too early in the winter for us to walk her consistently. I think we made it up to her today. 


I'm going to go on a tangent here for a minute to give you insight into how silly my brain is sometimes. As we were walking around Lake Padden, I see this little girl with a bag of white bread. I turned to Craig and said something like, "when I was little, I only had whole wheat bread, so I always thought white bread was a treat". (Thankfully, I no longer think that). Then, I started wondering if we had enough bread at home. Then, I said, "today would be a perfect day for an oyster shooter and sitting on the patio at the Longhorn. 

So here's how that all connected in my brain. The conversation made me think about bread. We usually get our bread from the Breadfarm an amazing bakery that is located right next to the Longhorn Saloon. See? See how my brain works? Hahaha! 

So naturally, after we finished walking around the lake (about 3 miles), we drove thirty minutes southwest to the Longhorn! The nice thing about the Longhorn is that they have this great outdoor patio and dogs are welcome to hang out with you on the patio! 

The Longhorn happens to be a popular destination for bikers (as in Harleys). When we arrived, the street was packed with bikes and the Longhorn was packed with men and women decked out in leather and chaps. Quite the sight! Needless to say, I was feeling a little out of place in my UCSC banana slug t-shirt. Ha! No worries though because we found some space at a picnic table next to two lovely lady bikers who were there on their own (no men needed!). 

We ordered our oyster shooters (and a salad and some fried food too). The star of the show though was definitely the oyster shooter. 


Here's the thing about oysters. If you're afraid of them, order a shooter. The oyster comes in a shot glass and it's covered with cocktail sauce. It's kind of a great way to ease into eating oysters without being overwhelmed by the fact that you just put a raw oyster in your mouth. Later, you can progress to oysters on the half shell (which are not slathered in cocktail sauce but are sometimes accompanied by a nice mignonette that gives the oyster a bit of a kick). 

 

Even though it's called a "shooter", you do not actually just swallow the oyster whole. It is best to chew the oyster a few times so that you can appreciate the buttery flavor of the oyster. If you just swallow it you've completely missed the point!


After lounging in the sun for awhile, we headed back to the car. By this point, most of the bikers had moved on. I popped into the Breadfarm to get some bread, but alas, they were out of bread. Totally fine though because I can pick some up next weekend at our farmer's market! 


One final thought…I titled this post "slough Sunday". Slough is actually pronounced like "sloo or slew", but whenever I look at it, I think "slow". Edison, the town where the Longhorn and the Breadfarm are located sits on a slough, hence the name of the post. 

Happy Sunday! 




Sunday, April 6, 2014

Viva Las Vegas

We left for Vegas on Friday after school and let me tell you…this girl was not feeling well. I had been battling a stomach bug since Tuesday. I had been spending far too much time in the bathroom and I was a little bummed that I wouldn't be able to indulge in some tasty food while in Vegas.

That said, I was determined to make the most of the trip, so when we stepped off of the plane, we literally checked in, threw our bags into our room and then headed over to the MGM Grand to meet up with our friends at dinner. While they ate, we shared an appetizer (about all my stomach could handle), and then we were off to see KA, a cirque du soleil show at the MGM.

Confession time: While the show was indeed amazing, Craig and I were so sleepy that we both nodded off a time or two during the show. Whoops!

After the show, we walked back to the Flamingo (where we stayed) and poured our selves into bed around 1 a.m.


The next morning started with breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi (my favorite Vegas breakfast restaurant). I was still feeling pretty cruddy, but managed to eat about half of my eggs benedict. Then, it was off to the hotel to lounge by the pool for a bit. Side Note: We spotted Olympian Carl Lewis dining at a table near us! 

After lounging by the pool, we headed to our room to relax for a bit and then get ready for the big event of the day, K.J. and Jenny's vow renewal! We met up with the 9 others that we staying at our hotel to head down to meet our ride to the chapel. We were picked up by the A Little White Wedding Chapel Limo. 

When we got to the chapel, we had lots of time for pictures before the ceremony began. They really have a tight schedule at these chapels. We saw at least three or four other couples getting married while we were at the chapel…including one in the "tunnel of love" drive thru! Haha! 

Jenny requested a pink theme for their vow renewal and everyone obliged! She wore a long pink dress and the veil from their original wedding (almost 13 years ago) while her husband wore a pink shirt. Technically, we were in Vegas to celebrate Jenny's birthday, but they thought it would be fun to renew their vows too (even though it was a weird anniversary to be celebrating). 

It's amazing how many people actually attended their vow renewal! Lots of friends from all over, including some girls that Jenny coaches in cheerleading in Bellingham. I think there were about 20 people in total!


Their vow renewal was equal parts fun, silly, sweet and meaningful. At one point during the ceremony I started laughing so hard I was crying. The whole experience was exactly how I pictured a Vegas wedding might be!

After the ceremony, we headed to an Italian Restaurant for dinner. Jenny and K.J. kicked off the night with blue and pink shots.

After dinner, Craig and I wandered through the Bellagio so that we could go watch the fountain show. This particular show was set to Viva Las Vegas. : ) We met up with Jenny and K.J. again and parted ways when they decided to go out for drinks. We were just too tired by then! 

 

Our first stop the next morning (Sunday) was breakfast at Mesa Grill in Caesar's Palace. I love southwestern food and Bobby Flay's restaurant does not disappoint! By this point, my stomach flu was gone and I was thrilled to be able to indulge in eating all of the great food again!

(Spicy egg tostada with white cheddar..mmm!)

After breakfast, we wandered the strip with Jenny and K.J. and had lunch at Cabo Wabo. Jenny and K.J. left us to catch a show at the Flamingo while Craig and I gambled a little (ten dollars for Craig, five for me). 

 
 

Sunday night, we went to the New York New York to ride the roller coaster (fun at night!) and then grabbed a cab to the Palazzo. Jenny had been wanting sushi, and upon the suggestion of the taxi attendant at New York, we headed to Sushi Samba. 

The Palazzo is gorgeous inside and the sushi at Sushi Samba did not disappoint! It was a tasty, late night meal! 



After sushi, we started the walk back to our hotel via the corridors and malls within the Palazzo and the Venetian. We were in pursuit of dessert, when we spotted a film crew filming an episode of The Next Great Baker (starting the Cake Boss)!
 

By the time we got back, it was so late that even the flamingos were sleeping. : )


Our final day started with another breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi. This time, I ate my entire plate of eggs benedict! Proof that my stomach flu was gone! Woo hoo!


Jenny and K.J. hadn't seen the inside of the Bellagio yet, so we walked across the street after breakfast. This guy approached Craig and asked if he would take his picture with these two girls. Craig did and when he walked away, K.J. realized that the guy was actually Ethan Hawke! We lingered for awhile and watched as he filmed a scene in a movie that will be coming out later this year! Love Vegas and the celebrity sightings! 

Once we were done staring at Ethan, we took a few pictures inside the conservatory at the Bellagio and did a bit of shopping at the new shops near the Flamingo. The new area next to the Flamingo (The Linq) is pretty cool. Lots of neat shops and restaurants (we ate at a Mexican place and at this cool late night bowling alley). 




I insisted on having more pool time before we left (our flight left the next day at one), so Jenny and K.J. joined us at the pool for a bit before their flight left at 4.


After they left, Craig and  I decided that we really wanted to see Beatles LOVE so we walked over to the Mirage to buy tickets for the late show. 

 

LOVE was amazing! Quite possibly my favorite Cirque du Soleil show (we've seen three now).


On Tuesday morning, I snapped one last photo of Vegas (the view outside of our window). That ferris wheel (the largest in the world), opened to the public the day we left! It's called the High Roller and holds 40 people inside each pod!

All in all, a successful Vegas Trip! So much fun!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vegas Baby!

Craig and I returned yesterday from a quick jaunt to Vegas. We left after school Friday night and came home yesterday afternoon. We are on Spring Break…so no school was missed!

The purpose of this trip was to:

1. Celebrate our friend Jenny's 40th birthday.
2. Celebrate the vow renewal of Jenny and her husband K.J. (Too much fun!).
3. Eat good food.
4. See a show or two.
5. RELAX!
6. Have fun!

We accomplished all of the above!

I've got lots to share, but for now I'll leave you with one picture!


Gotta love Vegas!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Weekend

I feel like I can hardly catch my breath lately, let alone have time for the blog. But, this weekend was fun…and mostly relaxing…so I thought I'd post! 

My eyes usually pop open by 7 a.m. these days which means that I get much more accomplished in a day! Good thing, because on Saturday I spent the majority of my day doing some projects around the house and preparing to host a dinner for my friend Jenny. She turned 40 on Saturday, and we were honored to host her birthday dinner at our house! 

Martha Stewart must have rubbed off on me, because our dining room table ended up looking like this: 


I felt like a 40th birthday is a pretty special occasion…so I went all out!  Jenny's favorite color is pink so I bought some pink and white carnations for a centerpiece. I also made a menu! I just printed it onto card stock and tucked it into folded cloth napkins. So cute! For the record…the menu included caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons, salmon with a parsley/cilantro chimichurri sauce and french bread. 

KJ (Jenny's husband/Craig's coworker), brought chocolate cake that was amazingly delicious! Jenny and KJ's two daughters helped sing happy birthday! 



P.S. Jenny looks like she just turned 30, not 40 right? 

After dinner, their oldest daughter Mahder cuddled and goofed around on the couch with Carolina. : )

 Both of their girls are so cute! A total reflection of the amazing people and parents that they are.

Today, I was up early again and off to school to get prepared for next week. Craig drove down to his mom's house in Tacoma today to pick up a few things and when I was done at school, I drove over to spend some time with June.

It was a gorgeous Spring day, so I talked June into taking a walk with me. June loves plants and flowers and all things gardening, so we walked around looking at everything that is blooming now that it is Spring!


Today marks exactly one month since June's stroke. It is absolutely amazing to see how far she has come! When we came in from our walk, we sat in a community room with some other residents to have a cup of coffee. I left her while she was still sitting there which was also a huge accomplishment. Two weeks ago, she would have been disoriented and confused upon the departure of a family member, but today it was no big deal.

I'm so proud of her and amazed at her recovery! She still has many challenges, but Craig and I just feel so optimistic about her future.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Latest

I'm going to jump all over the place in this post. Starting with today. St. Patrick's Day is on Monday, but Bellingham has a St. Patrick's Day parade on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day. This was Craig's second time participating in the parade with his band. He was in the parade last year too.

This year, I brought Lexi down to join in the fun! I put her St. Patrick's Day bandana on so that she was festive! It started to rain right before the parade began, but lightened up and stopped as the parade commenced. 



While waiting, I found Blitz (the mascot for the Seahawks!!!) and forced him to take a picture with Lexi. Haha! Love it! 

Then, it was time for the parade to begin. Lexi did great, but the drums got her all amped up! Each time the drum section started playing a cadence, she started barking! I even have a video of the band playing and at the end of the video you can hear Lexi start to bark at the drums. Hilarious! 



I love this parade because its so small and laid back (not at all like the big Ski to Sea parade later in the year). At the end of the parade route, we walked back to the beginning together where I took one last "selfie". : )


In other (more important news), Craig's mom is doing so well that they're discharging her three days early! We scrambled to find her a place to live and feel pretty confident that we have found a great place that will meet her needs. 


She will be in the rehab facility until Monday, but in the meantime, we were able to bring Lexi to visit her. She always talks about what a great dog Lexi is, so we knew we had to bring her over to visit. The staff has no problems with dogs visiting and the good news is that Lexi will be able to visit June at her new (hopefully temporary) home too! Lexi was great. We let her off of her leash and she ran up and down the hall greeting all of the nurses and residents at the rehab facility. She also did her fair share of begging (and scavenged some pieces of June's dinner). ; )

And finally…life continues to get busier. My job just became full time for the rest of the year! I have loved working with my job share partner (she is AMAZING), but am also excited for this next "chapter". 

It's crazy how sometimes you start to cruise along in life and then everything flips. Just when you get comfortable, life throws a curveball. 

Here's to the next chapter!