Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Morning!

As usual, we all spent the night at Grandma Wolfe's house for Christmas Eve.  Em, Caleb and the boys and Todd and Brenna were all there.  Grandma's house is starting to feel pretty small with all those people.  At any rate, here are a few photos of our morning.
Unfortunately dad wasn't there because he had to have emergency surgery on his knee due to an infection.  So things were a little crazy.  Todd came to town a week before Christmas an got the tree for Grandma's.  It was a little Charlie Brown-ish.  But after mom and I gave it a little TLC and decorated it, it didn't look so bad.

The rest of our time in Pittsburgh, Sam and I got to go to a movie with my siblings, visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to see the re-vamped dinosaur exhibit, and went to a 5 year class get together with my High School senior class.  We also got to visit with Aunt Nancy, Willie, Miriam and Donnie.  I hadn't seen Aunt Nancy and Willie in quite a while and it had been even longer since I'd seen Miriam and Donnie, so it was so good to be able to catch up.  I am so bad with keeping in touch.

I also discovered that Caribou coffee (my very favorite that I have to get my fill of while I visit) had new, improved mochas.  I was skeptical, but they were really good.  I think I stopped there 7 of the 10 days I was home.  When are they going to open Caribou in California?  One in Lake Forest maybe? Just my business alone would probably be enough to keep them afloat.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tradition!

Christmas cookies with the Bovards.  It all started with Erin and me and our moms making and decorating Christmas cookies when we were in grade school.  Well, the tradition has continued and includes our ever growing families.  The more the merrier I say.  This was Sam's first year at cookie decorating.  Turns out he's got a hidden talent - he was good.  And Phin really cranked them out this year too.  He was pretty good. Silas just enjoyed eating the cookies.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Light One Candle for Peace

This is a video from Phin's preschool Christmas program. Notice he's the only one in his class even trying to sing. Good job Phin!!

video

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas with the Crocketts

Since Sam and I were going to be in Pittsburgh for actual Christmas, we spent the weekend before pretending it was Christmas.  We went over Friday night after work and had dinner.  I made a yule log for the first time - complete with meringue mushrooms.  It ended up pretty good.  A lot of work but I would probably do it again.

We all spent the night and woke up to a wonderful Christmas breakfast complete with homemade doughnuts before spending the morning opening a TON of gifts.

I made out like a bandit! Ben and Kalyn got me a breadmaker - one of the things I didn't think I needed when I registered for our wedding but found I was really missing.  I got a ton of wonderful gifts.  Sam really out did himself this year.  He got me a beautiful bracelet and an equally beautiful bag.  It's going to be hard for him to top that next Christmas.

The best part of our wonderful "Christmas morning" was that we got to go do it again with more family in just a few days!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Visitors!

Continuing on my mission to get caught up with posts...

November was filled with visitors (well, the most houseguests our apartment has seen anyway). First off was Erin and Dan who came out for the Ducks/Pens game. And I'm proud to say that the Pens won...but Sam got to sit on the glass so it wasn't a total loss for him. I didn't get any pictures until the actual game, but here's what I have. We also got a quick trip to L.A. in to see Tim and have some Pink's hot dogs. It was my very first Pink's hot dog even though I lived a half-mile from it for about a year.



Next was Emily's trip out for USC's homecoming game. I don't really wanna talk about the game, so I guess it's okay that this is the only picture I got.

While we were in L.A. we got to hang out with Emily's friend Rebecca - also don't have any pictures of that. But I do have proof of Emily's requisite visit to the beach. San Clemente to be exact. It was a perfect Southern California fall day!


(Please notice our pile of Starbucks drinks on the bench that I thought would be out of the above picture). Can't be without our Starbucks.


Next up: Thanksgiving and my birthday. A little rushed and low quality but I'm almost caught up.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Birthday!!




I got the golden ticket! How fun that we got to take advantage of getting into Disneyland free on my birthday.  And that we all had the day off anyway because it was the day after Thanksgiving.

We started the morning at the Character breakfast in the park with Sam's family which was so fun because I had never done anything like that.  I convinced Sam to stay late (which we don't usually do) because it was all decorated for Christmas and I like the lights.  We even got to watch the holiday fireworks (which weren't that great, but the hot chocolate we shared while we watched made it totally worth it).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fall Speed Recap

Time to catch up. Not with everything...just what I feel like writing about. Lets start with these couple of random things:

This was how I received the invitation to Silas's birthday party. Notice written across the bottom in large writing: "PHOTO DO NOT BEND." Good old USPS.

Next up: "TOE TRUCK." If it's supposed to be a clever thing, I don't get it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkins!

We went to a real live pumpkin patch. I didn't even think they existed out here. And we carved them. My first one since I left for college 5 years ago.





Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer Update

It has been over two months since my last post, so I figured it was time for an update. This will be my first post of the summer and now it's almost over. In L.A. it already feels like fall. We have had the most unbelievable June Gloom lately. The marine layer rolls in by 7 and sticks around until 8 or 9 at least every morning. I'm not complaining because I like this weather - it stays cool.

So a lot has happened this summer, but most of it has been pretty boring. Props if you stick around to read it. The insanity really started with an unexpected job change for Sam. It ended up working out really well (so far). It's a smaller firm than he worked at before and he says he likes it a lot better but is still getting the swing of things in the new office. He's also been putting in a lot longer hours. To be expected at this point - and totally a good thing - but sad for me.

His new job is also in Laguna Hills, leading me to the next big change. We have been planning to move for some time now. As much as L.A. is really cool and I do like it, we are both getting a little tired of the constant traffic, congestion, and stress that comes with it. Not to mention the astronomical rent. So we had apartment hunted for a while and decided on a place we like, but had to wait to see if they had an apartment open when our lease was up. In the meantime, I overthought it and decided I didn't like it anymore. It was beautiful, but there was not enough storage and the floor plan was such that there would literally be no where to put Dexter's litter box. The when Sam got this new job, I decided to expand the apartment search even further south. I was rewarded (although I'm going to be punished with my commute to Downey three days a week). I stumbled on an interesting place online, so we made an appointment the next day and went down. We were not impressed by the one bedroom we saw, but she told us the price of the two bedroom and we couldn't resist seeing it. It was PERFECT!! More storage than I could ever want and a downstairs entryway (like we have now) for Dexi's litter box.

So we are moving on Saturday and Sam has been staying several nights in the almost empty apartment on an air mattress because his work is literally 10 minutes away.

Another highlight of the summer was my trip back to the 'Burg' for a visit with family and friends. It was awesome. I spent the whole week at my grandmas (where mom was recovering from surgery). I got some good time in with mom and grandma. I also spent a ton of time with Em and the boys. We went to Sandcastle (a waterpark) - their "pool" and got to play in the pools and take a spin around the lazy river. I also got to try the new waterslide they put in that I had never ridden. Phin wouldn't ride with me, but I did get to hang out with Emily's friend and her little daughter who had a love/hate relatioship with the waterslide. She was terrified to go, but at the end she made a point of telling everyone, including the life guard how much fun it was. Too cute. This was the day I got schooled by Phin when I mentioned something about his "swim trunks." He said, "No Aunt Katie, this isn't trunks, it's my bathing suit." Oh excuse me.

Emily and I also went to Kennywood (an amusement park) just the two of us. It was great because we both have husbands who would prefer not to ride the rides we like (the roller coasters and anything else that's fun). So we got to ride all of the roller coasters and a few other rides sprinkled around in there. Another highlight of the day would have to be the potato patch cheese fries. You have to, really. It's not Kennywood otherwise.

Todd and Brenna even made it over for the weekend, since I didn't have time to go over to Philly. It was so fun all being together at Grandma's for a day. I also got to visit with some old friends (thanks to Kara who organized us all; I call her the cruise director) and hang out with my "other family" the Bovards.

Being back in Pittsburgh is truly culture shock. All the things that are so familiar are no longer normal. Like, there are weird things in Pittsburgh that shouldn't be allowed to be, and yet they are. And you never notice until you leave. Like the haphazard streets with no signage, houses that are absolutely in disrepair, and really bad highway drivers. But somehow it still made it more tempting to move back. Love that city.

There you have a summary of my entire summer. I'll try to put up a few pictures once I get them on my computer. The camera is packed in a box somwhere, and who knows when it will be found again. I can't wait until this move is over. Hopefully we won't have to move for a very long time - perhaps until we move into a house? Okay, that may be optimistic, but you never know.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My cat has issues

I came home to both of my flip flops being entirely chewed up. He had already started on one of them, but they are apparently his new favorite chew toy, rendering them entirely unwearable. So at the bottom of the stair by the door they will sit. I'm hoping it will give him an outlet so he won't chew other stuff that he's not supposed to. Perhaps I will take a picture so you can see the extent of the damage.

At any rate. Sam's mom took one of their cats to the vet today (who is also Dexter's vet) and asked about Dex's chewing problem. He seems to think due to the variety of things he likes to chew and the extent of the damage that it might be more than teething; he seems to think it sounds like OCD. I didn't even know cats could have OCD! But of course a behavioral visit would need to take place to evaluate him and perhaps prescribe appropriate medication. Yes, my cat needs to ge have his head shrunk and then will be medicated.

I think he's just mischeivious. I'm hoping he just grows out of it. But so far, that doesn't seem to be happening. He is just getting more and more creative (and destructive) about what he chews.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mc Crape

After seeing a sign not unlike this one on my way to and from work each day (except mine is entirely inflated on TOP of a building and has subsequently had the addition of inflatable people evidently scaling the massive cup o' joe - yeah, people climbing the coffee cup - I'd get a picture if it weren't insanely dangerous for me to be trying to take a picture on that section of freeway, but maybe one of these days). And being bombarded by the unrelenting ad campaign for McDonald's "McCafe" line, I had to try one. Now, I thoroughly enjoy their original iced coffee (particularly the hazelnut), but the other day, I got a nonfat iced mocha. How did it stink? Let me count the ways. The coffee is just not good. I'm pretty sure they added water and chocolate instead of milk and chocolate (to all of you anti-skim milk people, I understand that you think skim is water, but trust me, there's a difference). And to top it all off (literally) the whipped cream isn't good and the annoying requisite chocolate drizzle was the sundae fudge which hardens when it gets cold...so you can imagine.

The one upside was listening to the girl behind me in the drivethrough try to order a coffee like she was at Starbucks. I wanted to get out of the car and explain to her that the starbucks people had not transplanted and started working for McDonalds; rather, it's the same "You want fries with that?" people who are making your espresso beverage. I think I probably should have had that moment myself before ordering an espresso drink at McDonalds. Hind sight's 20/20. Oh well, live and learn, right?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mono Lake and a ghost town (Sunday)

Bear Hug


Mono Lake




Bodie: the ghost town








They had Shell!