Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Because when you turn 100 years old...

you definitely deserve your own blog post! I wrote about it in my five for Friday last week, but thought I would share some more pictures. My wonderful, beautiful great-grandma Frances turned 100 years old on October 16th. Luckily, Brad and I were able to make it to Minneapolis to join in the party. Which is super fun when you're 100 years old, still live by yourself, have hilarious stories to tell, and loads of family around! In addition to Grandma Frances (who my middle name is after... which I hated when I was in elementary school. How could I hate a name after such a cool lady?!), we hung out with my Dad, grandparents, aunt and uncle and my three cousins, another aunt and another cousin and her baby - and that's not even half the family! A fun time was had by all, I'm sure. It was the perfect way to kick off our Seattle anniversary trip.
PS That's my little cousin Miles whose head is peaking over the top of the cake when she's blowing out the candles. Cutest thing ever!

the cake was MEGA YUM

Pumpkin time

Halloween is kind of a big deal around our house. Like, a HUGE deal. Ranks right up there with Christmas. This is because Brad is a Halloween fanatic. He will deny this, tell you Christmas is his favorite holiday, but if you could see the way his face lights up when he watches "Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin," there's no denying it.

On Sunday, we went a nursery by our house and got pumpkins. The poor things had to sit outside in the rain for two days until they finally got carved last night. I was feeling a bit less creative, so I decided to try out one of the fancy stencil thingys that came with our pumpkin carving kit - you be the judge on how that turned out. I think that Brad's pumpkin really captures his true personality this year... :)

PS Yup, that would be clean clothes drying on a rack in the background in that first shot. Our apartment is bigger, but not that big and someone thought that the dining area would be a great place to put the closet with the washer and dryer. Um, yeah.

pumpkin seeds, which we (ie Brad) may attempt to roast

that is a special brand of crazy folks. I do love him so!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Five for Friday

1. Seattle. The Emerald City. The Coffee Capital of the World. The Queen City. The Gateway to Alaska. The Rain City. The Jet City. The Awesome-est City. Brad and I returned yesterday morning from a great four day trip to Seattle, our first visit to the city and, really, the West Coast. We both fell in love with Seattle. Her people are fantastic, her hill's butt-busting, her coffee and salmon amazing, her history fascinating. We had such a good time, that this place that I have always wanted to visit, is definitely on our must visit again list. Oh, and of course I took 80 million pictures. So stay tuned for those - here are a few teasers from the point-and-shoot. Check out the AMAZING sunset Monday night!

2. Everyone warned us when we booked a fall trip to Seattle that it would be chilly and rainy. Chilly? Yes. Rainy? Not so much! Actually, it rained more in D.C. in the week leading up to our trip than it did the whole time we were there, which is a bit crazy. What was also crazy was the insane fog that set in on Tuesday. It didn't burn off until around 4pm, when the sun finally decided to show its face. But I can't complain about 50 degrees and no rain in the Pacific Northwest!

3. Red-eye flights always seem like a good idea when you book them. You don't waste precious touristing time traveling. It's overnight so your body naturally wants to sleep, thus making the long flight less boring. Yet, like the Redskins, it looks good on paper and is awful in real life. Our red-eye from Seattle to Detroit Wednesday night started off great. The security line was short at the airport. I was able to get us exit row seats, so we had tons of leg room. The flight left on time. The the turbulence started... and didn't stop until three hours and 45 minutes later when we landed. Brad, who is a super plane sleeper, slept through the whole flight. 99% of the other passengers also slept. I am a nervous flier and not a good plane sleeper. I did not sleep. Two lone reading lamps illuminated the cabin - mine and some guy three rows in front of us. The good part is that I had picked up a new book at the cutest travel bookshop in Bainbridge Island and was able to plow through a big chunk of that (note to self: if cancer fighting doesn't work out, I believe it is my destiny to open a travel bookshop!).

4. Prior to heading to Seattle, we joined my family in Minnesota for a few days to celebrate my great grandmother's 100th birthday. It was super fun to see everyone and to celebrate with the yummiest cake ever (you go Queen of Cakes!). Instead of staying with my grandparents, like we normally do, we stayed with my aunt and uncle and my 12, 11, and 5(-ish) year old cousins. Brad and I even survived taking them to breakfast Saturday morning all by ourselves. Maybe we won't be horrible parents after all?

5. On Tuesday, we celebrated our second wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe that we have been married for two years already; it feels like we've been married forever (in a good way!) It's hard to remember my life before we got married. The second year was definitely easier than the first, so I'm hoping that the third year will just be plain ol' fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two years ago today

we said "I do!"

I can't believe it has been that long - time certainly flies when you're having fun! Brad, I love you so much and love every day of being your wife. To borrow a line from Mr. Darryl Worley: "I love this crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful, beautiful life" :)

October 20, 2008 - celebration in Chicago: October 20, 2009 - celebration in Seattle: Picture TBT (to be taken!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Five for... Monday!

I figured I could cheat this week, since we'll be traveling this Friday, so I won't get to do a post. Plus I was in a lousy mood last Friday, and who really wants to read a blog from a crabby person? Good news is that the mood is great today, so here we go...

1. Last Friday I made a healthy dinner for Brad and my friend Laura who came over. I was super impressed with my Hungry Girl Stuffed Chick Cordon Bleu. If you're not familiar with the Hungry Girl, I highly recommend you sign up for her emails ASAP. She has great healthy recipes, teaches you how to make unhealthy recipes healthy and tells you what not to eat when you eat out and what not to buy (and what to buy!) at the grocery store.
Just look at these chicken stats:
normal, unhealthy chicken cordon bleu:
serving size: ONE chicken breast
calories: 426
total fat: 23g
sodium: 852mg (in ONE prepared chicken breast!!!)
carbs: 16g

super duper, healthy chicken cordon bleu I made:
serving size: one chicken breast
calories: 222
fat: 4.5g
sodium: 692mg (still highish, but it's hard to find low sodium ham!)
carbs: 2g

2. Yesterday, we joined the 21st century and bought a new TV. A 42" Panasonic plasma TV is now awaiting my friends at Comcast to come install the HDTV DVR (we upgraded to DVR too... really a banner day for us). Brad was over the moon to purchase a new TV, while I really didn't care one way or another. I think it will be nice to have a big TV to watch football on though :)

3. On Friday, Brad and I leave DC to begin our great six day trip across the U.S. One highlight of this trip will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary in Seattle. The other highlight will be traveling to Minneapolis to celebrate my great-grandmother's 100th birthday! She is a pretty awesome lady, who still lives on her own, and is probably in better health than I am. My middle name is named after her (Frances), so while I have always taken a lot of crap from people for having a "weird" middle name, I don't mind a bit! While we're in Minnesota, we'll get to see my Dad, who is flying in from Barbados, and my aunt, cousin and second cousin (I guess that's what she is? my cousin's daughter... no idea what that branch of the family tree is called) and my wonderful grandparents. A picture of my beautiful Great-Grandma Frances last year at Thanksgiving:

4. Did you know that if you want to put someones 100th+ birthday on the Today Show for Willard Scott to announce, you have to do it six months in advance? Totally bummed me out when I discovered that yesterday. You'd think that when someone is pushing 100, they would allow a little flexibility!

5. As I have many times previously mentioned, we're headed out to Seattle next week. We fly back Wednesday night on a red eye, leaving Seattle at 11pm, arriving in Detroit for our connection at 6:10am, and arriving back in DC at 8:30am. After that, I am going to attempt to go to work. I'm not sure how this is going to work. I'm a nervous flier on a good day and my inability to sleep on airplanes is quite well documented. Heck, this is the girl who stayed up the entire overnight flight back from Europe because I was paranoid there was something wrong with the flap on the wing! I tried to upgrade our seats for this leg of the trip to first class, thinking any amount of my 37,000 frequent flier miles plus a few hundred dollars would be worth it, only to find out that our tickets are a "non-upgradeable fare class." Um, yeah. So any plane sleeping tips would be very much welcome!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Christ Church Cathedral; Nassau, Bahamas

So, instead of continuing to post pictures of the beach when the weather is 60 degrees out, I thought I'd switch gears for our cruise stop in Nassau and post pictures from the gorgeous Anglican cathedral there.

When we got off the boat, we were handed a tourist map, with a few attractions mentioned on it, including several churches. Given my love of photographing churches, we decided to poke around the area and see if we could hunt them all down (not too easy, due to a major lack of street signs). We found them all and found this one last. It looked very plain on the outside, but as you can see, is gorgeous on the inside. It was a welcome break from the heat and we had the place all to ourselves.

Gorgeous, eh?

Five for Friday

1. Can you believe it's already October? Where has 2009 gone? I feel like the older I get, the faster the time goes by!

2. We have a super busy couple of months coming up to round out the end of the year. Next weekend, I haven't given up hope in getting tickets to the Ohio State vs Wisconsin game (hint, hint to anyone out there trying to get rid of theirs!). The weekend after, we travel to Minneapolis for my great-grandmother's 100th birthday and then travel to Seattle for a few days to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Halloween weekend, one of my best friends is coming to visit from Florida. The weekend after that, my Dad is coming for a quick visit. Two weeks after that is Thanksgiving, which we'll be spending in New York City with my family, and a month after that is Christmas. Whew! I am super excited about all the traveling we're going to be doing though.

3. So I mentioned Seattle. I am so, so, so beyond excited to visit the emerald city. It is a place I have always wanted to go... literally my entire life this place has been on my list. I've already gotten great recommendations on what to do (take a ferry out to the San Juan Islands; go on the duck boat tour, where you sail past the houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle), but if any of you have other recommendations, please let me know!

4. We had some layoffs and restructuring this week at my job. While it's always a difficult time for everyone, I am thankful to say that my team was not negatively affected this go-around. Hopefully that trend will continue (despite the fact that I just overheard on CNN that the nationwide unemployment rate is up to 9.8% - yuck).

5. Fall is officially here. I love fall. Largely because of the large amount of pumpkin-flavored items available: Pumpkin lattes. Pumpkin coffee. Pumpkin scones. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin soup (mmmm, my favorite!). Heck, I even saw a recipe for pumpkin lasagna yesterday! All hail the great pumpkin!