Saturday, April 27, 2013

Outdoor Living

I have a sneaking suspicion I've titled a post like this before, but it's hard not to with the weather we've been having lately. While there are so many things I miss about California with the core of my being, I can't deny that the outdoor living here is superb. I have spent most of every weekend outdoors in the last 3 months. Sitting out by our pool, looking up into the perfectly blue sky, to the sound of our pond's little waterfall running, and it's fairly impossible to feel anything but contentedness at our current state of affairs.

Today, I've realized, I've spent almost entirely outside, beyond the hour in my "regular" yoga class, that I've attended these past few weeks. Our first 100 degree day is supposed to arrive tomorrow, so I'm well aware that our days of perfection are numbered, but for now, all is lovely. I even went in the pool for the first time this season. The verdict? Cold, but perfect for a 95 degree day.

Hope you're all having a lovely day as well!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring has Sprung

Ed and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful spring happenings going on by visiting the Desert Botanical Gardens for a beautiful evening. 

We weren't disappointed. 

Blooming cacti make my dislike of cactuses much less pronounced. 

It worked out perfectly, as we got there around 5:30, which meant we could put our names in for dinner at Gertrudes, the yummy dinner spot, and walk around for about 20 minutes before we sat down to our meal. 

We've definitely appreciated how drastically spring seems to show itself here, compared to the bay area. Trees are lit it by yellow blooms. 

I may be more open to getting some prickly pear cacti at some point. Their flowers are lovely. 

While the wildflowers aren't quite the same as wildflowers on Mt. Tam with views of the ocean, they're still pretty special. 

We were particularly struck with the flowers intertwined with the agaves and actually used it as inspiration for our own front garden. 

After about 20 minutes (and an embarrassing amount of pictures later), we were ready to eat. 

Unfortunately, the restaurant wasn't as ready as us. A good 25 minutes later, we finally grabbed a waitress and let her know we were dying of thirst and would really appreciate someone coming over. 

Long story short, our waiter was horrible (that wasn't the only time he abandoned us), but the food and ambiance? Perfect. 

And you couldn't beat the company. 

I had a super yummy cilantro and jalapeño margarita, which was fabulous. 

To start, I got a kale, asparagus, melon and parsnip salad, which was refreshing. 

And, of course, a meal here wouldn't be complete without a fun wildlife sighting. A very cute road-runner ran across the stone and was a very fun sight. 

And my main course? Fabulous. Striped sea bass with homemade bacon, green bean, green onion oil and tangerine jus, plus potatoes. Mmmm... it was spectacular. 

Even better, though, was the ambiance. Sitting outside, not just on this date, but on so many occasions recently, we have felt so thankful to live in a place where, for months,  you can sit outside and enjoy a beautiful, perfectly temperatured evening. 

It was pure loveliness. 

Afterwards, we walked the gardens, practically alone out there in the night desert air. A concert was going on, so we headed towards it and got to enjoy the jazz tunes spilling into the gardens. Sitting close enough to enjoy the concert, we sat and relaxed. 

As the closing time began approaching, we headed out toward the exit. 

It was an almost perfect evening, and a beautiful way to spend a spring night.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Break Loveliness

(Finally up to posting this!)

After we got to enjoy the wonderfulness of the outdoors, it was time to get to enjoy the lovely happiness of being with family. 

We begun by celebrating the birthday of a very special sister at a really good restaurant. 

It is always so great to go out to dinner with my family. 

The next day, the rest of our family arrived. It's hard to describe how absolutely wonderful it is spending time with our niece. She is amazing. 

We went to the "Up in the Air Festival" right by my parents house - a free activity with lots of fun things to see. 

Amelia was amused by all the bubbles, though it was a little hard to actually make them. 

Foam was a little easier to create. 

The other highlight was watching some trained dogs catching frisbees. I may have seen this group before when I went to the fair with my friend Christine, and it was just as fun. 

Of course, with a theme like, "Up in the Air" we had to get a picture of a hot air balloon. 

The other highlight of the trip was a much needed sister's lunch. With lovely Amelia and busy lives, it had been forever since the three of us spent some quality time together. We had a lovely visit to the Spectrum for lunch and some shopping. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful sisters. 

To end our trip, Ed and I couldn't pass up going and enjoying some green nature, so we drove out to one of the local parks and just soaked it in. 

We saw a relative of our nemesis, the blue heron (one came and ate almost all of our beautiful fish). This one seemed to be looking for his own dinner. 

It was lovely. 

Back home, we had some more lovely Amelia time. More "nap time" playing - and even Ollie joined in. 

Then, it was time for a little Amelia sandwich. Of course, this happy scene ended not so happy when Amelia wouldn't stop trying to eat the couch cover and lost it. She wasn't super happy about that. 

But, luckily 2 year olds don't seem to hold grudges, so she was back to her smiling self in no time. 

Giving some Tia love.

Amelia also impressed us all with her food choice. She was super into eating some raw red onion!

And of course, we had to have a little fun dressing her up. 

Luckily she was totally into it. Especially with the teddy bear backpack I found upstairs. 

She then helped Tia Kortney open her birthday presents. 

She actually liked her bunny ears and needed a little help keeping them up. 

And we finished off with a lovely family picture. James insists on livening up pretty much ever picture he's in, so Ashley decided to give in and join in on the fun. Such a silly family :)

It went by all too quickly, but was wonderful just the same.