Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back on 2011

2011 has been a great year, especially June onward :). I'm thankful for so much that's happened in the past year, and excitedly optimistic in 2012. Here's a snapshot of some of 2011's highlights.

In January, I started up running again! Very slowly, and not very far, but still running, with my eye on a July Half Marathon.

(A run on Mt. Tam)

The most exciting news in January was the birth of our niece, Amelia!

 February was a pretty quiet month, but I did go down to visit my sister and family, to spend some time baby Amelia. She was just starting to smile when I met her.

March was a very wet month! We spent a lot of it in our apartment, and decided to make it a bit more pleasing inside by "remodeling" our living room.

Ed and I did run a very wet Rodeo Beach race (my distance just a 6k). Still, my first running race back in over a year!

A bright patch in all the rain was my sister's visit to the bay area, to start thinking about a move up to to our part of California.

April gave me another school break, so that I could spend time with my ever growing niece.

Ed and I also got to enjoy the wonderful weather April finally brought, with one of the most spectacular runs on Mount Tam we've had. 

In May celebrated Mother's Day this year with a lovely visit from Sabine.

June marked the end of my first (and hopefully last :p) year as a middle school teacher. It was a great learning experience, at a great school, with mostly great kids, but I am just an elementary teacher at heart. I was happy to have made it to the end!

Ed and I also got to celebrate the wedding of dear friends, Bill and Jenny, who were married at the end of the month. 

Ed and I joined my side of the family in Big Bear for a lovely family vacation!

Finally, on June 28th, Ed and I celebrated a lovely one year of marriage. 

In July, after 7 months of training (more or less), I completed the half marathon, slow but steady, and excited for the next running adventure.

 Ed and I traveled to the east coast for a very busy but very amazing trip to Princeton, New York, and Boston.

August found me whole-heartedly jumping into the role of 5th grade teacher and setting up my new classroom. 

I got a break from the classroom when I visited my friend Christine, to see her one last time before she moved to Alabama.

I also (of course) snuck in a visit to my family. 

September was full of my great new job, but it also had room for fun. We had some amazing visitors at the beginning of the month.

I turned 26 this month, a very grown up sounding age, and we celebrated by using a gift from my parents to spend the weekend in Sonoma, tasting wine and dining on delicious meals.

October started perfectly, with a half marathon with fast friends (who pushed me into doing a much faster race than I thought possible!)

I also took my first trip as a teacher to science camp, with my 5th graders.

November was a very busy month, workwise, which made our Thanksgiving trip to Cambria all the more sweet.

And, in December, we had a great month - lots of running for me, and lovely visits to Mission Viejo and Cambria for Christmases.

So, this year had lots of traveling, time with my sweet niece, running, and teaching. I hope that this next year is even better!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Perfect Beach Day

While we tossed around some bigger trip ideas for our first full day in Cambria, Ed and I voted to take it easy. Hang out, play a game, maybe head to the beach and read.

What a perfect choice. 

The beach was lovely - especially when you have it practically to yourselves. 

I've always claimed that I'm not a beach person, but I think I need to clarify. I'm not a Southern California beach person. Central coast beaches are in a class all their own. 

A lovely, perfect, relaxing class of their own. 

We spent a little over an hour there, reading, resting, enjoying visiting this perfectly beautiful place. 

And, of course, a glass of wine or two only enhanced the experience. 

Yes, I could definitely be a beach person in a place like this. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas-time Runs in Cambria

Everytime we visit Ed's mom, we question why we would ever want to leave California. Is it any wonder?

I went on two blissful runs while I was here, one a 3 miler, and one a 5 miler. The views (plus my new Garmin 110) motivated me to run some of my fastest times yet, with sub 10 min/mile pace averages for both, and a blisteringly fast (for me) 8:56 last mile of my 5 miler today. 

There is little that can beat running in high 60s weather, with a cool ocean breeze blowing off the surf, the sounds of waves crashing below and every care in the world blowing away. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in Cambria

After 4 lovely days of Christmas with my side of the family, it was time to head up the coast for a second Christmas with Ed's side of the family. Unfortunately, it seemed like thousands of other cards had the same idea, as we were stuck in monumental traffic, which turned a 4 hour drive to a 5 1/2 hour drive. We did get to stop for lunch in Camarillo (near CSU Channel Islands, a potential future local for us, pending Ed's job), which was nice. 

Pretty much as soon as we walked through the door and said "hi" to everyone, it was requested that we begin present opening. 

Sabine was very happy with the "Super Scrabble" game that she got from my parents. 

Tom was eage (inexplicably) to show off the gift card Sabine gave Ed for Office Max (for a new office chair/phone)

Keven and Noemi seemed excited about our gift of a countertop toaster oven to them.

I was happy to receive guest towels for our guest bathroom.

And, Ed was thrilled to receive some bourbon (which he had neglected to ask for for Christmas, but had told me, on the drive up, that he had hoped to get some bourbon but had forgotten to ask for). He was happy with his brother Keven's initative.

It was a great evening of presents, and quality time spent with family. 

After presents, Sabine treated us to an amazing dinner of tomato basil bisque to start, followed by standing rib roast, yorkshire pudding, and asparagus. We certainly ate well on this trip. 

It was a wonderful first night in Cambria. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Mission VIejo

(One of my favorite ornaments, that I might take someday for my own Christmas tree)

Now that I have a new camera (yay!! Thank you Sabine and Ed!!!) I can actually give some personality to this sad little blog with my Christmas recaps. As I didn't get to start using the camera until Christmas evening, I don't have a lot of the trip captured, but I did what I could :).

The star, of course, was this little one here:

 Amelia, all 11 months of here, was the belle of the ball. With her expert crawling skills (up and down stairs, no less!), and overall cuteness, there were certainly many vying for her attentions. Since it had been 3 months since Ed and I had seen her, we were so happy to spend time with her, even if she was a little unsure about us at first. 

I had fun helping Amelia play with the Christmas tree, showing her how to take off an ornament, and then put it back on. While she won't remember this, it certainly felt like we were creating special memories. 

Our Christmas schedule was a little changed up this year, with traditional Christmas eve festivities shifted to the 23rd (church, followed by Roundtable pizza - this was always a much anticipated meal). Ed and I also had fun playing Dominion with some high school friends. 

On the real Christmas eve, we had over our Aunt Lynn, her fiance, our cousins, my cousin Adam's wife, and her mother-in-law, for a very nice dinner. We always all try to get together this time of year, and it was a really nice change to traditions. 

Christmas day, itself, is always a very drawn out affair, starting with stockings, then breakfast, and then opening the presents. We had an earlier start this year, meaning that we finished about 12:30 (instead of the usual 2pm). We had another change to our tradition, with a couple from my parents small group joining us for dinner.

We had great appetizers (including this delicious 7 layer greek dip made by my sister Ashley), and Kortney tried out our new game with us, 7 wonders. 

Ed did take some time to sneak away with Amelia, who had found a stash of her games upstairs. 

Then, it was time for dinner. 

We had a fancier dinner than usual, actually serving it as courses. I helped my mom by plating the salad course, a delicous pear, raspberry and bacon salad, on bibb lettuce. 

For dinner we had beef tenderloin with gorgonzola butter and mushroom bread pudding.

And, for dessert, peppermint ice cream profiteroles with chocolate sauce. 

 After dinner, we enjoyed relaxing around the table,

and having great discussions.