Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We're having a baby!

We will skip the last two years of travel for a little bit as they are not coming along as I would like, but they will be up at some point soon. Instead let's focus on the reason I am blogging again after such a long absence. We're pregnant!

Yep after being married for over 6 years we will finally be turning this twosome into a real family with a mini-us that will consume all of our money, time, and love. That is pretty much what we want (except for the money part as retirement sounds super cool) so we couldn't be more excited, or nervous. And if you can't guess we are having a girl! Here is an ultrasound proving it, see no \boy parts!


Here is our baby with the first image we have for her that looks like a baby. It is a 3D scan from one of those elective ultrasound places. She is only about 17 weeks at this point so she appears super skinny and not fully formed or baby-like, but we think she is adorable.  you can actually see most of her in this image with her face toward the middle and she is smiling (and unlike the first smile we will see after she is born, she is most likely not having gas). Isn't she cute?!

As of right now we are past her due date of 9/9 but hope for her any day now. More about her birth, nursery, showers, life, etc to come in future posts so hang in there, I promise to come back once we have her with us!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Then we lost the cat and gained eight legs....

2012 was a good year to visit Jason's family but not a such a good year for Jason's lovely kitty. Bianca disappeared in the spring. We looked for her but never did find her. She had enjoyed the backyard and had been with us since before there was an us. Jason was devastated to lose a pet who had been such a close friend for so long. We will miss the cute little cat that was filled with lots of spunk.

She put up with us very well for a cat. She even let me dress her up in the winter.
She loved being in the sun the backyard. Often she would hunt for critters too, but she wasn't much of a killer.

After we returned from the trip to the Big Apple we decided our lives were lacking something with the loss of our kitty. Jason agreed we could finally get dogs so I set about looking for the perfect puppies for us to adopt. See I am a dog person and Jason is a cat person so this was a big deal being allowed to find and add dogs to our lives. It took some time but we finally found two adorable sisters to bring into our lives. They were so cute, even the cat guy couldn't say no. We have no real idea what breed they are but they are rescues so mutts for sure. As Jason likes to say, they are the kind of dogs you pick up in a hardware store parking lot, but we still love them. Here is a series of pictures to tell some of their story, growing up with us.
The first day at home the puppies fell asleep in the garden after running around like crazy dogs. Aren't they so cute sleeping like angels. Sleeping is something they are really good at.
The girls already had their own personalities from day one. This is them playing in their pen. Roxy, the dark puppy, is kind of ninja-like and likes to hide from her troublesome and bigger sister, Rambles, the light puppy.
Rambles likes to hide as a plant, and often trying to get out of trouble by being something she is not.
The girls like to play in their dog houses. Rambles trying to start stuff though Roxy generally wins. I think Rambles just likes to see what her sister will do.
See after the little fight they get along like perfect little sisters.
Rambles even tries to help us train Roxy to walk on a leash. Roxy is very good at putting up with her sister.
They loved to play with very non-traditional toys, like the water bottle we used for walks at the time. Rambles would help during walks carrying it for us.
Roxy is my puppy, sort of. She is a lover and just wants cuddle and belly scratches. She does not chase balls or play but belly scratches are her favorite.
Rambles is a water dog, in more ways than one. If she finds water she will get in it and find out how she can play in it. They even used to have a fountain to play in.
She played so much she would fall asleep all of the time.
As they grew up they both enjoyed to play in the fountain and water when they could. Roxy would attack her sister from this height, sometimes to see what would happen.
Roxy found out the hard way that bees are not delicious. Good thing she ended up just fine. It looks funny now, it was scary then.
The girls really enjoy walking with us around the lagoon. They get a three mile walk as often as we can and they love it!
The girls love their dad and they play well with Jason. Both of them are very active and enjoy lots of fun the backyard.
They even enjoy to drink from the fountains. I guess the water is better when it is moving.
Roxy, from this last summer, being a glamorous girl.
Rambles, also this summer, being a pretty girl.
Here is a video of Rambles playing the leaves last fall with her father in the backyard. Rambles is a flying dog!
Roxy and Rambles sleeping in our bedroom. They put themselves to bed regularly and love sleeping near mom and dad.

2012 was a good year for our home and family. It is so nice having these two wonderful girls to add to our family and they really enjoy being part of our family. We look forward to many more years with these lovely girls. Now on to 2013!

Next we traveled to the Big Apple to see my cousin get married...

In 2012 we travelled to the Big Apple to see my cousin and his fiance tie the knot. Jason, who had grown up going to a pre-Julian NYC was hesitant to travel to a city he knew as filthy and crime ridden but it turns out the city is much nicer than he remembered. Before the wedding we had a nice New England dinner for out of towners. My brother couldn't make it but we had fun as the family without him, though I am sure we would have had more fun with him.

Dad and me ready to enjoy our Lobsta' Bake (I did live in Bawston, I know how to say these wowds).
My mom and her two sisters, also at the dinner! Aren't they cute in the bibs? That is the groom, my cousin, in the background talking with guests.
The wedding happened in a beautiful old cathedral and the reception was in a really cool old building. All in all it was a beautiful wedding with a beautiful bride and groom. It was also nice to see the family for a nice trip to the city. The food was amazing, the venue was beautiful, and everyone had a blast! We wish them many, many years of happiness and love! This year they beat us to the punch to have the first great-grand baby! Obviously, the marriage is working out! Congrats cousins on the adorable baby!

Outside of the cathedral in the Upper Eastside. I found the passionflower outside the doors.

The inside of the cathedral. Isn't it a pretty alter? A lot bigger than I think I could handle for our wedding.
The wedding party! My cousins look adorable as groom and best man. My new cousin is a beautiful bride and her sister looks really nice too! They do look like the exact perfect wedding party for NYC! Elegant and not over done.
The bride and groom at their table being allowed to sit down at the reception. It was short lived but at least they did get to sit at least once!

After the fairytale wedding we spent the rest of the week exploring the city. We went to all of the BIG museums and enjoyed the park and some shopping. The whole city was so friendly and easy to travel around. At no point did we see the city you see in Law and Order. I was impressed and we had a great time. Maybe one day we will go back to visit, even with Jason's dislike of big cities. Though this year we will miss my other cousin getting married to his fiance in what I am sure will be another elegant affair in the city.

Me exploring one of the attractions in the park. This is the castle in the park. Not the greatest picture of me but it was a place to get some amazing views.
In the park they do have this amazing sculpture in the children's part. If you don't already know we are huge Alice in Wonderland fans... real Carolian fans! It is a beautiful sculpture and we hope to take our daughter to take a picture with it one day.
I am a huge fan of Tiffany and this was my favorite window at the Met! That was a museum we wish we could have had more time to explore but maybe we can return to see it again one day.

After we went to the wedding and spent a week in the we traveled up to Buffalo so Jason could see his father's side of the family. Jason's grandparents moved up to Buffalo the year before and are now over 100 years old each. It was so nice to finally meet Jason's extended family. We also took a side trip to Niagra Falls. It was beautiful and now I understand why people have wanted to get married here and find this a very romantic spot.
The falls looking out toward Canada.
The rainbow is a common sight around the falls.
This was a wonderful trip to New York. I still do not love the humidity of the East Coast and have no interest in living there, but maybe visiting in the fall again would be nice. Only two more years of vacations to share.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We also went on a tropical vacation...

You guessed it! This will be our 2011 family vacation to the tropical island of Maui! I love the beach and getting to vacation as a warm tropical beach with your loved ones is just the best! Obviously Jason needed to show is love for me in the paradise!

The hotel was very nice with a lazy river that Jason enjoyed both floating around and hanging out under the waterfalls in. Plus no chances of getting covered in sand, but also no fish.
We saw lots of wildlife on the trip. Here Jason is communing with a crane on the way to breakfast of fresh native fruit! The fruit was so good, it has been hard to eat tropical fruit at home, because it is just not as good.

We really enjoyed snorkeling around Black Rock, seen in the background behind the pool area, and saw some pretty awesome fish varieties, including Jason's favorite Picasso Triggerfish or the national fish of Hawaii, Humu humu nuku nuku apua'a. The flowers were amazing (I seem to love the tropical varieties best) and the whole trip was just so relaxing. We did not make it to the Hana Road, the car just didn't fit us well enough for that long of a drive, but we did go up to Io Needle.
Io Needle in the mist. It was warm and sunny just 20 minutes away from here. Isn't it pretty!

Mom and dad on the bridge to the needle. It seemed very unstable but they still stopped for a quick and cute picture for me.

Jason, not allowed to get into the HUGE waterfall up by the needle and the rushing river below it found a smaller one to stand in. He was determined to stand in a waterfall on his first trip to Hawaii. I guess I can't blame him. I am just glad he didn't get swept down stream in the big one.
We also visited the little town of Lahaina, where we shopped for suveniors and hung out under the banyan tree eating shaved ice (yum!). This is also where we went to our only Luau. It has excellent food and great entertainment, sad my dad had to miss it because he was not feeling well!

The huge banyan tree in the heart of Lahaina. Lots of people hanging out here and even a wedding taking pictures during one of our visits. Perfect place to people watch, and eat shaved ice.
The luau had some great hula! I kind of want to take classes since it looks like it requires loads of physical training and muscle control. Plus it looks really fun!
It was one of the most relaxing trips we have taken (much like the Alaskan cruise) and we were sad to have to leave the sand and sea to return home but I know we will be back again one day.

The ocean takes control over everything, erasing all traces that we were here.

Then we decided to settle down and buy a house...

So 2010 was a good year for teacher trainings for me. I did more than I mentioned but 2011 was more fun! We decided it was time to settle into one place and prepare to really be a family by buying a house. It took us months to get everything set up to search and weeks to find the right one but in the summer we finally did! We also took a trip to Hawaii but let's focus on the house for this post!

We decided that the economy had gotten to just that sweet spot that two people who were solidly middle class could afford to buy a home in our state, which was kind of exciting. After looking at tons of houses we found one that just felt right. Single-family in a nice quiet neighborhood, two-stories with 4 bedrooms, 2 and half baths, a nice kitchen and a good sized great room all added up to a good option, but the house had something special which helped to sell it.

A "painted" rose at the front of the house gave the first hint of whimsy. I mean how does this not bring up the ides of Wonderland?

Unusual plants abound in this garden. Still haven't fully identified this African flower but it might be a throne tree variety.
So what sold us? The cool plants helped and the amazing garden. You walk through the house and suddenly you are in another world. The garden is surrounded by trees (at least 20 of varying sizes, types, and shapes) and it feels completely separate from the rest of the world. We go out there and feel like we are on vacation because there is no way this could be close to work or any of the problems we need to deal with day to day. Plus it is just a fun place to entertain, not something we do enough of if you ask me.

The living room area is nice and shaded but also allows a nice space to screen movies outside with easy access to electricity.

Here you can see the dining room area. Great place for food or crafts! Plus a nice little plot of grass the kids and dogs find big enough to play on but that doesn't dominate the backyard or take an electric mower to control.

This back corner really feel like it is something out of Wonderland too. The tree smiles at visitors and the mirror (you can't see it because it is covered in this pick) feels like something you could fall through.
The backyard is awesome and something worth buying the house for but we also got an outdoor room with it. The house has an added 300 sq ft sunroom! It is a nice amount of extra space and the perfect place to read or write (or grade). Over time we have made it more cozy but it is an amazing place to enjoy the rain as well! I can't imagine the house without this room or living in a house without it. It will be great for kids to do their homework in too, as long as they don't get too distracted but the views outside.

The sunroom, during set up. There have been loads of good things made and read in this comfortable room.

The only problem with a backyard like this is the amount of work it requires. Yes we try but I think we need to do a big clean out this year to help it along. It also floods when it rains heavily but having our own little lake it nice.

Our little lake! How pretty filled with leaves in the fall. 

We now host our extended family for Easter, which is perfect in the garden and the immediate family for Christmas at our house. It is so nice to feel like we can keep traditions alive even as family moves further away. Plus I love entertaining and feeling like I contribute to the family holidays! Sorry I can't seem to find any pictures from Easter.
Our first Christmas tree with presents! Which ones are mine?

The staircase gets to light up in holiday spirit! Plus it holds the Christmas cards!
I hope to update again today so I can try and catch up after two very unproductive days!