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:
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:
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)
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).
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.
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.