Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Word for 2013

It has been a couple of years since I chose a word for the upcoming year. I had mixed feelings about choosing a word and was unsure of which word would really fit. My unofficial word for 2012 was CHANGE.

I have been thinking about what I want in 2013. I have been thinking about goals for the year. I have been reflecting on all of the changes that occurred in 2012.

I thought about UP, but that did not stick. After all of the changes during the past the year, I am looking for ways for things to settle down. I thought about the word PEACE, but that does not fit either.

Then I found the word CREATE. This word fits. I think the next year is about creating the life that we want to live in California. This past year was so much about change and getting some big things set up (a job for me, finding a rental house, moving twice, etc.) I feel like many things were just about adjustment, settling in, and reacting to things as they happened.

The next year is about being proactive, finding a work/family balance, and connecting with want we really want out of our lives in California. I love the energy and positive connotation of the word CREATE.

I checked on my past words. My 2007 word was DISCOVER and my 2008 word was CHALLENGE. My unofficial words were BABY and ALEX for 2009 and 2010. My word for 2011 was HAPPINESS. I learned about the "One Little Word" idea from Ali Edwards. My 2013 word came to me from another blogger, Karen Walrond who has an upcoming online course titled CREATE 2013. I have not decided yet if I am going to take her course, but I love the word.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Alex told his teacher that he was going to ride an airplane to and see snow. I was not sure if we would see snow in Ohio. Alex got his wish to see snow; we now have about 8 inches on the ground. We had fun sledding. Alex also enjoys throwing snow balls.

Friday, December 28, 2012


We were delayed flying out of San Francisco due to rain and wind, but we made it to Ohio on Christmas Eve. We have enjoyed lots of time with family. Alex got to stay up late on Christmas Night waiting for Aunt Jenni to arrive since she is a nurse and had the overnight shift on Christmas Eve. Alex loved opening presents! It is hard to teach a three year old to be patient!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fantasy of Lights

We may have a new tradition of going to the Fantasy of Lights at Vasona Park. We went on a week night before Christmas, so there was not a wait to drive through the park. We avoided the freeway traffic and saw beautiful homes and lights on the way.

With the rain and our work schedules, we did not get to do as many holiday activities as I would have liked. In the future, we will have more to check out Christmas in the Park in San Jose, Train of Lights & Union Square in San Francisco.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Around Here (December 2012)

Around here...

I love having the Christmas Tree up! After our "Charlie Brown" tree stopped working a few years ago, we borrowed my parents' tree. We no longer had an artificial tree and decided that this year was not the time for a real tree. For weeks, we had borrowed a truck to move our stuff from the apartment to the house, but we did not get a tree then. Instead, we learned that a 7.5 foot artificial tree does not fit into the trunk of a Camry. Bungee cords to the rescue! John had to go back into Lowe's after we purchased our tree to buy some bungee cords to secure the tree and trunk for the drive home.

We were still unpacking over the last two weekends. First we unpacked the boxes labeled "Guest Room/Xmas Decorations" that were packed by the movers in Texas. Beyond just Christmas decorations, we found some random items including John's softball glove, a plaque that I received while working at CFAC. Last weekend, I tackled the third bedroom, which is my office/craftroom and a guest room. I am happy to have it unpacked!

We made a fun trip to Ikea last Sunday buy some items for the house. It was not too crowded on a Sunday morning, and Alex did not melt down. He loves to check out all of the displays. He kept saying, "Follow me" as he led us to the next area.

I have wrapped up teaching my freshmen seminar course for the semester. I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach, but I did find it challenging to work more than one job this semester. Since I was grading papers, I feel like I got a late start on Christmas.

It has been cold in the Bay Area this week. There was even frost on my car yesterday morning! It has been over 8 years since I lived in Ohio, so I no longer keep an ice scraper handy. I think that I have one somewhere, but I just used my Safeway (grocery store) card to scrape my windows as I warmed up the car.

Now I am happy to be off work until the new year!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Alex @ 3.5

Alex is still growing quickly. At age three and a half, he is 41.5 inches tall and weighs 41.5 pounds.

He is still full of personality and says a lot of funny things! Recently we have been discussing our move from an apartment to a house, but he calls it the "compartment." He also has a funny way of saying hamburger. It comes out more like "haminburg."

He certainly has his own sense of style. He really likes to wear his rain boots, even though they are getting small. Yesterday, he tucked his pants into his socks while getting dressed for school. He came out to tell me that he has pantaloons after John told him the word.

This week, we made a quick video for his Aunt Jenni on her birthday. At home, he thinks that pants are optional.

Monday, December 3, 2012


The end of the year is a natural time for reflection, but I think that it is exaggerated for me since 2012 has been such a year of changes for us. There may be multiple reflection blog posts coming...

One of my realizations is that I can be happy in a variety of places and situations. Of course the are day-to-day stresses, but I can see our lives taking a variety of directions with happy results. I have been happy living in three different states. There are things that I like about each location. I have been happy in different jobs, and can try to put my unhappiness aside when I do not like a job. I can be happy buying a house or renting a house. Living in an apartment was not bad, but a house is better for us in the phase of life.

These reflections are helpful and lead me to bigger questions about what I really want as our lives move forward. Mainly I want to relax and bit and settle down in 2013, but I expect to be asking myself some of the bigger questions too.


We really enjoy our weekends! Some weekends we FaceTime with my parents. Technology has helped us keep in touch after our move. Our current set up allows John to connect his iPad to our TV for FaceTime.

We moved that last of our stuff to the house the day after Thanksgiving. Alex was "helping" me unpack and found my Cabbage Patch Kids. Most of the house is unpacked now, but I still have unpacking and organization to do in the third bedroom, which will eventually be an office, craft room, and guest room.

When the weather is nice, we spend time outside. We had nice weather the last weekend of November, so Alex rode his bike to the nearby elementary school. He rides fast now, and I had to jog to keep up with him. The school has 3 great playgrounds, and Alex is comfortable on the playgrounds set up for older kids too.

The weather turned rainy this week, but we still found fun things to do. We went to a game night with one of John's co-workers Friday night and a team lunch with more his co-workers today. Yesterday was our Las Madres Holiday party, and the kids had fun at a gymnastics center. The bounce house and trampoline were both very popular.

Alex did well when he was rolled around and kept saying "ye-haw." There are some signs that someone was born in Texas.

After our weekend fun, it can be challenging to shift gears back to the work week. This week, I will be grading for class. The semester is wrapping up quickly.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saturday in the East Bay

We headed up to the East Bay on Saturday to hang out with John's brother, "Uncle Matt." We enjoyed ice skating at Oakland Ice Center, which is a nice big rink. Alex really enjoyed skating with John and Matt since he could hold both their hands and jump while skating. Crazy kid! I am still practicing after taking about a ten year break from ice skating. I will have plenty of opportunities to practice since there is an ice rink near us in Cupertino.

After that, we drove around Downtown Oakland and stopped at Lake Merritt at sunset. It is a beautiful area of the city.

Alex does not stand still for long!

Then we headed to dinner in Berkeley at one of our favorite restaurants, Indus Village. John and I both love the Indus Combo, which includes Chicken Tikka Masala and spinach.

It is about an hour drive, but I am glad we have opportunities to explore the East Bay.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grateful for you

Yesterday we enjoyed our first Thanksgiving in California. We had a low key day since we are still moving the last of our stuff from the apartment to the house. (It is easy to forget how much stuff you have in your kitchen until it is time to move it all!) We enjoyed lunch and time with John's brother. We bought prepared food from Trader Joe's, so we did not cook a whole turkey this year.

I am still setting up my craft space, but I did make a digital layout with some of my favorite pictures from 2012. I upgraded my Stampin' Up! digital software to MDS 2 since it is currently on sale.

I am also grateful for the long weekend (and so much more)!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Chaos

We moved into a house at the beginning of the month, and it is a great fit for our family. We are renting but still hope to be here for a while. We are near John's work and Alex's preschool, and they walk to school and work some mornings. We can also walk to the library.

The house has about 500 square feet less than the house we bought in Texas, but it works well for a family of three. Mostly, we are happy to have a yard again. Alex wants to play outside even when it is dark or cold.

John, his brother, and a friend moved all of our big furniture with 2 pick up trucks in one afternoon! Since then, we have been moving more stuff from the apartment to the house. We are starting to get settled in, but we are still in transition. I think of it as happy chaos.

The backyard

Alex in the hammock

The front yard, which is Alex's favorite place to play

The garage, which John is taking over as an office/man cave

Monday, October 29, 2012

Around the Apartment

Our time in the apartment is coming to an end. Once we were considering a big move last year, I had more motivation to document our daily lives knowing that many things could change. That motivation continues as we move forward and our life in California evolves. I find myself taking pictures around our apartment and the complex.

We can see the sun setting from our second floor windows. The striking colors of this sunset after some rain in September prompted me to go outside and take a picture.

I see the sunrise many mornings while walking the dogs. Well, I will not missing early morning walks.

The apartment complex has nice landscaping, so I took some pictures of the flowers recently. The mild weather means that we still have flowers blooming in October.

The apartment had a unique floor plan, so I often find myself upstairs looking down at John and Alex. We will be back to one level in the rental house, so I wanted to capture the view from above. Alex likes to watch videos on my computer.

Back to grading papers, laundry and eventually some packing!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I need to pack up my crafts supplies for our upcoming move. Luckily this move is less than 3 miles instead of 1600 some miles! During this transition, I can work on some digital scrapbook pages. This one was inspired by a song that I heard at the beginning of the month:

I made a digital scrapbook page using My Digital Studio from Stampin' Up! and a digital stamp from Ali Edwards. I really like photo collages right now and used a variety of photos from this year.