Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up

So, remember how I said I thought I was getting better? Apparently I wasn't. Well, to be more specific, I was getting better (in fact, by Thursday I was feeling pretty darn good). Only, by Friday afternoon, I started coming down with cold number 3. Seriously? I am so, so tired of being sick. I have literally been sick this whole month (give a day or so).

I have to admit, I had big plans for this 3 day weekend. I was going to paint the upstairs bathroom, among other things, and just get a huge amount done. Instead? I spent much of it in bed trying to recuperate.

The highlight of Saturday was definitely celebrating my niece's birthday, albeit from afar. Since we couldn't come out for her 2nd birthday, I had the idea of skyping in.

It was so much fun to get to sing "Happy Birthday" to her and see her eating her cake (as well as seeing my family). Technology can be a wonderful thing.

It's so hard to believe Amelia has gone from this:

To this:

To this:

So crazy. She is such a special little girl, and I can't wait for her to be old enough to really remember and get to know her Uncle Ed and Aunt Adelyn. 

Ed also had a very big weekend. It was finally time for his big marathon!

Ed was shooting for a 3:25 time (because he's crazy fast like that), so got the 3:30 temporary tattoo of pacing times. Pretty cool that they have those now! Ed was very amused. 

I dropped him at the start and then headed back home to rest up. We decided he didn't really need to see me along the way, so I just had to show up for the finish. I also used the time to do a few errands, since Tom and Irma were coming to visit and we needed to pick up some food  and tidy up a little. 

Around 10:20, I headed to the finish. It ended up being at least a mile walk to get to the race, and than another half mile or so to get towards the finish. I got a bit confused by the finish and, to make a long story short, backtracked a few times, which meant I wasn't at the finish on time. As I was about two tenths of a mile away, I saw a familiar ASU visor running past. I tried to yell out his name, but of course he couldn't hear, so I tried to keep up, running parallel to him. I kept up for a little, but then it got crowded, and I started running short of breath (nothing like a cold to make you feel seriously out of shape). 

So, I cut my losses, and went up to the barriers. I was able to just make out Ed as he crossed over the finish right at 3:25!

We were able to meet up after (after a lot more walking). Ed had such a great race and definitely looked the best I've ever seen him after a big race, and he just did super well. Of course, he's totally fine today - not sore or achy at all. Crazy man. Good thing he was so fine, as we probably walked close to 2 miles back to the car, after getting a little turned around . 

Once we got home, it was all about getting more rest. It's been beautiful weather, in the mid 70s, which is cluing us in as to why people want to live here in the winter. It's been heavenly. I also got to take a nap, which revitalized me for our wonderful guests, who arrived that afternoon. 

Like always, Tom had a project to do for us. This time, he was finishing hooking up the speakers in our house. Needless to say, we now have surround sound! Even better, we can play music from our tv or devices that can be played all over the house and even outside. It's so fun to have the ceiling speakers working. We've been listening to music all day. 

We tried a new mexican restaurant for dinner, which was very cute inside and had great food, as well. 

Today, I was feeling a little better, and finally got to have the day I wanted, if not the weekend. We had a nice breakfast all together before Tom and Irma went out shopping and Ed headed to the office. 

I stayed home and made the executive decision that painting just wasn't a priority. Instead, I decided to tackle some home projects that have been on my list. First up? Making this:

Yep, our very own detailed chore chart. We had talked for a while about having something like this. After looking online for inspiration and not seeing anything exactly like what I wanted, I decided to just make it myself. It was pretty darn easy. 

Now it has a perfect home in our laundry room, ready to be checked off (it's in a frame so it can easily be marked using a dry erase). Hopefully it will be good motivation for us to keep our house clean and put together. 

For my second home improvement, I didn't have to look any further than our closet. As my family will attest, I don't have the best track record when it comes to putting clothes away. I'm much better as an adult, but with being sick the past few weeks, and so lacking energy to put in effort, it had gotten pretty sad. No before shots, but imagine clothes (and books, bags and the like) on the floor and on shelves. I started by just organizing to get it back to how it used to be, which was a feat in itself. However, that still left me with some piles of stuff hanging out on shelves (winter gear, running jackets, purses, etc.). So, I headed to Target, and a short time later I had this:

Seriously? I love it. For about $40 total, I got 6 bins, plus these handy dry erase label clips. Now our closet is easy to navigate and nice and need. Now if only we can keep it this way!

The last project has been on my list for ages. I started with some Pinterest inspiration and had been biding my time for the right weekend and right shelves. I found these at Home Depot. While my first try yielded wiggly shelves, the addition of some anchors really made a big difference. The review were pretty mixed, mostly because they can be a bit wobbly, but anchors made them pretty secure. These are definitely not perfect, but I love them!

We still have many things on the list that we'll eventually get to, but for now, I'm pretty darn thrilled with the progress one day can yield. 

I'm so happy that the cold didn't stop me from having a very nice day today. I'm still feeling a bit better than I did yesterday and fingers crossed I'll be even more well as I head back to the classroom. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Family Visits

Pretend that this post popped up about two months ago. It's that never ending struggle to try to keep up with our new life here.  This past week has been a mix of yucky and great. I've had a cold (or, I really think 2 colds) since Thursday. The first one was super mild and almost gone by Sunday. Then, I woke up Monday with a sore throat, and things just went downhill from there. I came close to taking the day off (with a student telling me that if I sounded really bad and if I wasn't better in the morning, she ordered me to stay home and get better :) ). The silver lining, though, was that my kids behaved really well for me because of it, which was just wonderful. I'm finally closing in on the other end of this cold (I'm not wheezing with every breath and completely stuffed up any more), so I'm hoping tomorrow will be one of the last days of this!

In any event, this has been sitting in my draft box for ages and I finally have the energy to finish it. Someday, hopefully this year, I'll have everything updated. 

So, let's rewind to the end of October. 

My parents decided to fly in for their anniversary weekend, which has become a bit of a tradition, 

We didn’t want to waste any time during their visit, and so headed straight to our first destination after picking them up from the airport: The Desert Botanical Gardens. 

My mom has always been a huge fan of the southwest, and all the plants it entails, and both my dad and mother-in-law love all things gardening, so it seemed like the perfect choice. My dad also shared on the way over that he had been here around 30 years prior with his own mother, which made it even a little more special. 

He’d actually had his pictures taken with one of these plants on that very trip, so of course we had to recreate it the best we could. 

Wandering around, it was fun to see the huge variety of desert plant-life, and to gain an appreciation for their special kind of beauty:)

While we were there, we decided to take the opportunity to partake in a seasonal exhibit: the Monarch Butterflies. They were just beautiful, and everywhere. 

We were happy to find a Berlin garden for Sabine, though it seemed funny to have Berlin Agaves

One of my favorite parts of the gardens was going through a “walk through history” that took us through different living areas of different peoples who have inhabited this area. 

And of course no trip would be complete without pictures with our famed cacti found only in the Sonoran Desert.

After a couple hours, we were wiped out by the heat and the walking, and so headed for some refreshment in Scottsdale. 

We enjoyed some great tacos and margaritas, and especially being out of the sun. 

We also enjoyed walking around historical Scottsdale.

Once Sabine left the next morning, we headed out for our big weekend event - the UCLA/ASU game. We were a family divided, especially since Ed had strong ties to both. So, I donned an ASU visor and Ed, his UCLA had and a yellow shirt, which he figured would work for either side. 

We headed to the very top of the stadium, which offered a great view of the field, if also a little vertigo, as the stadium was very steep. Once we got started, we were given a great, close game. I couldn’t quite decide who to cheer for, generally cheering for the team behind until they got caught up, then switching sides. It was hard to resist cheering for UCLA, though, as my mom is quite the energetic UCLA fan and was very vocal about her support. She was well rewarded, as UCLA pulled out a win in the last couple of minutes!

This may have been the first football game I actually watched (apparently I brought a book and read through the last one I went to with my parents), and I did start understanding the game. Maybe someday I’ll become a football fan. 

After the game, we continued on what has become a bit of a tradition with our parents, and took them out to dinner to celebrate their anniversary. We were even surprised with a personalized menu for them! We went out to Cork, probably our favorite fancy restaurant choice on the outskirts of Chandler. 

It was so much fun to show both of our parents around our new home town, and share our new life with them. Hopefully it won’t be too long before they are back out again. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 in Review

These kinds of posts are always fun, as it's great way to reflect on the year. We've had a very big one, full of so many  huge changes, so bear with me on my recap of a very full year. This ended up taking me about a week to compile, hence it's lateness in posting :)


We celebrated my dad's 60th birthday with a surprise party, complete with us driving down to surprise him!

Our amazing niece, Amelia, also turned one, and we were thrilled to join in on that as well.

This was also the month Ed went to visit all his universities, so we was gone much of the month. It was a month full of anticipation as we moved one step closer to finding out where we were going to be moving. 


We announced that we were going to be moving to Phoenix, Arizona for Ed's position as a tenure track professor at Arizona State University, and I had to start getting over my aversion to the desert :)
We celebrated Valentine's Day with a cooking class at Sur la Table for Valentine's Brunch! Someday we'll take another - it was wonderful.

Our big trip was driving out to Phoenix (with stop-overs in Southern California to break up the 12ish hours of driving) to get to know our new area. We started looking at houses, found a realtor, began the loan process, and visited Ed's new workplace!

I did something I hadn't done for 5 years: run a marathon! I ran the Oakland marathon in 4:59, super happy to break the 5 hour marker, and very proud of myself for completing this hilly, but wonderful, race. It gave me a strong affinity for the city of Oakland, which is pretty special considering I spent the first 9 months of my life there, before my parents moved to SoCal. Ed was an amazing support at the race and really played a big role in helping me accomplish this dream. 

This was another very big month for our family. The most important event was Ed's dissertation defense. He had to present his dissertation and answer challenging questions to prove he should be given his PhD. Obviously, he passed :). I took the day off from work to be there for this special event, and was so proud of his hard work. We also enjoyed being back at Santa Cruz together, where we first met and dated. Basically, after this, we knew Ed would officially graduate at the end of the semester, and he could start focusing on getting ready for his new job. 

We also took another trip out to Phoenix, this time to pick out a house for ourselves. We enjoyed just about perfect weather on our weeklong trip, and took the opportunity to explore much of Phoenix's east valley, where we were hoping to settle. We enjoyed lots of wonderful food and became much more excited about our move. 

On this trip, we were also able to make a huge purchase: we found our house! It was pretty much everything we wanted for a great price, and we were thrilled to get it. Even better, the owner would rent it back to us after closing until we were moving out, which worked perfectly for everyone. Our move was becoming very real. 

The trend continued! This month, we closed on our home and received house keys, which was very exciting. 

I also took a last minute trip down to southern California to surprise my mom for Mother's Day! It was a wonderful weekend, and the look on her face when I woke her up from a nap was priceless. She was definitely surprised :). 

May was also when we had our goodbye party at work. It was definitely bittersweet to be saying goodbye to this school I loved (even though I'd only worked there 2 full, non-consecutive, years). There were a lot of us leaving for different reasons, and we were all sad to be going. It was a great party, though, and a wonderful way to end the year. 

Our last month in the bay area was incredibly full. With school wrapping up, we decided that we would be making the most of our limited time here and planned a lot of fun activities.

Attending the symphony:

Davies Symphony Hall.

Camping at Samuel P. Taylor park on a whirlwind trip to the Point Reyes area:

Ed Graduating from his doctorate program and officially becoming Dr. Lyon:

Father's Day:

Packing up our house:

Backpacking in the Santa Cruz Mountains for Skyline to the Sea:

Celebrating our 2 year anniversary by staying at the Mountain Home Inn on Mount Tamalpais (where we got married):

(revisiting the spot where Ed proposed - just as beautiful as the day we decided to become husband and wife)

Saying goodbye to our home of 4 years:

And finally, moving to Arizona and into our first house!

Whew! This was a crazy month, that we wouldn't trade for anything. We did pretty much everything on our list before we moved, and had some amazing quality time together. 


July began with wonderful company, as our parents helped us move into our new home. We also took some time exploring our new area, including making a trip to ASU to show everyone Ed's new workplace.

 After a couple weeks of trying to fix up our new home, we took a break and headed to Hawaii for a family vacation. It was much needed and spectacular in every way.

We loved being on the island of Kauai, a short walk from the beach, which afforded lots of relaxation. 

We also did plenty of fun adventures, including kayaking and hiking.

When we came home, it was back to work with painting, and real work for me, as I started my new job.

In between training days and a back to school night, I set up my classroom and got ready to start my 5th year of teaching.


Our first full month (without us gone for half of it) was a hot and very busy one. In an unhappy coincidence, the first week of school was timed with our hottest week to date, with 115 degree days, meaning no outside time for the kids and being hot all the time. 

We also finished painting our living room, despite the heat, which we love and always get compliments on (mostly because apparently it's daring to paint a room a darker color). That plus our new furniture made this one of our new favorite rooms that felt, more than any other, like, us. 

This month, brother in law Tom and his then fiancee, Irma, came to visit, giving us an excuse to head up to Payson and check out Tonto's Natural Bridge - a very fun outing!

I also experienced my first big haboob (dust storm). 
 The 2,000 foot tall haboob cloud covers the city of Phoenix, Arizona cutting power to 9,000 homes

I saw this wall of dust driving home from work and was basically racing it as I drove parallel to it. It finally caught up to me about a mile from home. Driving through it was more or less like driving through fog. 

In the midst of our crazy weather, we took a much needed break, flying out to Central California for Sabine's 70th birthday. I may have had a bit of a panic attack flying out, but am so glad I went, as it felt amazing to be back in California. 

Ed and I were also so happy to be by the cool ocean air (and to actually be not hot!).

When we came back, it was time for another celebration - my 27th birthday! We went out to dinner and, the next weekend, went to the symphony. 

This was the start of real craziness: i.e. Ed and I had no weekends together, after the first weekend, at home starting now and lasting until after Thanksgiving! Luckily, there were a lot of great events that made the busyness worth it. 

The first big event was my sister Kortney's visit (which coincided with the first time Ed was out of town. Excellent as being by myself in this big house is just a little scary, so it was nice to have company). We had a great time eating, drinking, and painting :).

The next weekend, we drove out to Vegas to celebrate the wedding of Tom and Irma! It was a blast, though very tiring. As a funny side note, both my mother in law and my other sister in law, Noemi, gave me "clubbing clothes" after this trip, since I revealed that I really only had teacher clothes. They certainly put me off to a good start :). 

On the way home, we (Sabine was coming home with us) got to see Ed in his first Arizona concert, which was pretty awesome.

Sabine spent the next week with us transforming our home, and her week was capped with my parents flying out to celebrate their anniversary. 

The final weekend was my first alone in the home, with Ed out in California. I survived :). 

We started the month off right with yet another trip, this one only the day after Ed came home from California, back out to California for Ed to attend a college reunion and for me to visit with Ashley and family. 

We had a wonderful time at the zoo and just generally spending quality time together with our amazing niece.

 While it was a super short trip, we soaked in every second.

The next weekend, after some second guessing, we headed up to Flagstaff for some much needed quality time together, with the added bonus of experiencing our first Arizona snow and celebrate Ed's 32nd birthday.

I also took Ed to Sedona for the first time, and he promptly fell in love.

We finished off the month with yet another trip out to California for Thanksgiving, and the traditional Turkey Trot. It was a wonderful, wonderful holiday. 

At the risk of being a broken record, we had an amazing time with this one here:

While this was still a busy month, we were at least home for the first part. We (I especially) really enjoyed decorating our home for the holidays. We also enjoyed sharing that home with others, as we had our first party (for Ed's work friends) and our second (for Ed's students). It was fun to have people besides family visit our home, and allowed us to really appreciate how well our new house works for entertaining. 

After 3 long weeks, we finally went on Winter break, and headed back out to California to celebrate Christmas. It was a wonderful, beautiful visit.

Our final December event happened the day after we got back in Arizona. Our wonderful friends, Bill and Jenny came to visit! While that deserves a post of its own, it was so amazing having friends from back home (our old home that is) come and visit and it was the perfect blend of relaxing and energizing.  The perfect way to ring in the new year and begin 2013. 

(yep! They came to Arizona and experienced snow. Not quite the balmy winter they were imagining)

As for 2013? It's already promising to be another big, though hopefully less tumultuous, year.