Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

We had Christmas morning breakfast with my dad's siblings in Hilmar, it was a bit smaller than last year, only 40 people or so.  One brother and his whole family weren't able to join us this year (and they were missed!).  After breakfast we drove up to the Walsh cabin for fondue dinner.  Yum!

  Linda and Ed had the place completely decorated, and the whole area was covered in at least 2 feet of snow which always makes it feel more like Christmas.  

Tanner and Belle came with us, and as usual, Belle loved playing in the snow and Tanner loved sleeping by the fire.  

We weren't able to stay as long as last year, but we're looking forward to the next trip up :)

Christmas Eve 2008

Christmas snuck up on us this year.  We were both so engrossed in our jobs that we were a little surprised when December rolled around.  We spent Christmas Eve with my family at my sister's house.  Her kids are growing up so quickly!  They're beautiful and fun~ the little guy is crawling now and he's so proud of himself (as he should be!)

Big sister received a great doctor's kit, and she wasted no time inspecting it.  

My grandparents joined us and we all had a nice visit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


As you know, we have a darling cat, Dotti (who's convinced she's a dog).  She's great.  She lives harmoniously with the dogs, playing with them, sleeping with them, and even walking with them.  Yes walking.  She recently developed a habit of following us on our walks around the neighborhood.  It didn't bother me so much when we were just taking short walks to get the dogs out of the yard, and she really never crossed a major street to follow us- until Saturday.  I took off for a long walk with the dogs, as I tend to do on the weekends, and it took about three block for me to realize Dotti was following us.  For those of you familiar with Turlock, she crossed Colorado and followed us along the perimeter of the high school, crossed Canal (in the crosswalk, I might add, while cars waited for her), and walked all the way to Berkeley Avenue.  At that point, another walker passed us, and she darted away.  I completed the walk and returned home about an hour later; I was disappointed that Dotti wasn't there, but she wasn't flat in the street either, so I didn't think about it much.  I did think about it hours later when I brought the dogs in for the night and she was nowhere to be found.  I was in tears, having convinced myself that someone stopped to "save" this cat from the busy street, and Dotti, being the friendliest cat ever, went along willingly.  I cried even harder as Belle walked around the house, looking in all of Dotti's hiding spots, over and over again until we had to make her sit in another room.  She missed Dotti too!!!  Oh, how I cried.  I was a bad cat mommy- this was the third cat in a year to leave our home... As Travis will tell you, I was still incredibly upset the next morning when she was still not around.  We packed up for Santa Cruz and left, as planned, and I left out more than enough food and water, but was sure she was gone from us forever.
But no!  As we pulled into the driveway this afternoon, three days from the last time we saw her, Dotti was waiting for us!!!!  I picked her up and carried her around for at least half an hour. When I put her down, she ran after the dogs and has not left their side since.  Our little family is back together again!  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Growing up, I slept heavily.  I would sleep hard and wake up ready to go. According to my mom, I didn't wake up super early or super late, I just woke up when I was ready.
When I reached high school, I still slept heavily, and would sleep in on the weekends, until 8am or 9am, but compared to a couple of my close friends, I was an early riser.  If I stayed the night at a friend's house and we went to sleep around 1am, I would wake up around 8am and wait for my friend to wake up.  I would eventually get tired of waiting, and I would go home and do my own thing.
When I reached college, I stayed up late studying, like everyone else, and worked late some nights, so my average bedtime was around 1am, sometimes 2am if I went out with friends.  I would still sleep hard and wake up early, 9 at the latest.  
When we moved to Hawaii, I don't remember a remarkable change.  The whole island shut down around 11pm, so we all went to bed fairly early (although I do remember Kenji always calling us the old couple because we would leave parties around 11).  Still woke up early.
Then, grad school.  I stopped sleeping well- truthfully, I stopped sleeping.  Even if I went to bed early, I wouldn't fall asleep.  I would stay awake for HOURS- I'm talking 4 or 5 hours, trying to relax and fall asleep.  I would eventually move to the couch or the spare room and fall asleep around 3am, waking at 6 or 7 to go to work, then school.  Naturally, I attributed that sleep pattern the the stress of being in school.  I figured I would return to my old sleep pattern once school was over.
Didn't happen.
After defending my thesis, I slept hard for about three months.  I was soooo tired. I'm talking about the kind of tired where you drag yourself to bed at 8pm because sitting up to watch tv takes too much energy.  Even if I went to bed at 8, I'd wake up at 9 or even 10 on the weekends.  I figured I was just catching up on all the sleep I'd missed the three previous years.
Over the last year, my sleep pattern slowly changed again.  I went back to being a normal person, going to bed around 10pm and waking around 6, rested.  Sleeping in until 8am on the weekends, just because I could.  
But, I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way.  
I'm not sleeping again. 
The only difference is when I'm sleeping.  I fall asleep easily enough, but now I can't STAY asleep.  
For the last two weeks, I've been waking up somewhere between 3:45am and 4:30am.  I just lay there.  I'm still tired and I still want to sleep, but I can't fall back asleep.  What gives?  When I do fall asleep, it's usually minutes before Travis' alarm goes off at 5:35am.  Sometimes I can drift back into dreamland for another 45 minutes or so until my alarm goes off, sometimes I can't.  
I am NOT ready to admit that I'm an insomniac, so I beg of you have any advice on how I can fall back asleep?
Currently, I practice my deep breathing techniques from yoga and sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.  What else can I do?  Any and all suggestions would be helpful.  If I don't change this soon, the bags under my eyes are going to take over my cheeks!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thank goodness~

Three more days until vacation
Three more days until vacation
Three more days until vacation...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2008 Christmas Photo

I sat down to put the tree skirt around the base of our tree and Tanner decided he wanted to be a lap dog.  He climbed right up and made himself at home, which made the Dotti jealous.  She ran over and jumped in my lap as well, which caught Belle's attention.  SHE ran over and tried to play with Dotti, which made Travis laugh.  Travis laughing made me laugh, which made Tanner try to lick me.  It was awesome.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Froggy Fog

It is so foggy out, I can't see the football stadium that's at the end of our street- it's only 5 houses away!  PLEASE travel to and from work safely, today.  Please put on your headlights and lower your speed.  I'll be traveling to work on the freeway, which will be a difficult, but Travis travels to work on country roads and it's extremely scary for me to think about.  When you're surrounded by pasture, visibility lowers to a car length or two.  To prevent driving Travis crazy with my cautionary words, I'll bestow them on all of you out there~ DRIVE CAREFULLY and MINDFULLY, your life (and my husband's life) depends on it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Do you realize it's only 18 days until Christmas?  How can that be?!  It was just Halloween, no, it was just Labor Day!  What on earth is happening?  Is the speeding up of time a byproduct of getting older?  I have no issue with approaching 30, but I DO have a problem with life passing me by.  Where does the time go?  I think Travis and I do a fine job of slowing down, taking little trips, and admiring the scenery of life, but holy cow, life is still passing me by quickly.  It's not that I have a list of things that I must do before a set deadline, I just want to be able to enjoy every day, appreciate the little things, and spend time with all my friends and family.  How does one fit all that in every day, every week, even every month?  Sheesh.  Any suggestions for me?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Even more Mendo

While in Mendocino, Travis and I went to our new favorite winery, Esterlina.  It was fantastic!  If you see this wine in the store, take my word for it, it is enjoyable.  It is the first time I've enjoyed EVERY type of wine from the same vineyard.

More Mendo

On our second day in Mendocino was spent just like our first date in Santa Cruz ten years ago...getting lost on a mini hike.  It was great.  We found a slug that reminded us of the Banana Slugs in SC, but not quiet as yellow.  The red and orange circle is a mushroom~ one of many growing wild on the coast.  Travis spent a couple of moments drooling over the great surf and hidden diving pools.  I was  amazing at the blue-tint of the water- not dark like Hawaii, but not grey like Santa Cruz.  Travis, being the smartest man alive, explained that the water in SC is grey because the city is built on a ledge of sandstone, as compared to Mendocino, which is built on granite.  Apparently, sandstone particles suspend in the water longer than granite particles because they are lighter in density.  This clouds the water; granite particles sink quickly, leaving the water a brilliant color of blue.  Amazing!  It's like being married to my own geologist :)  Whatever the reason, the water color is gorgeous.


Travis and I just returned from a long weekend getaway to Mendocino.  We had such a relaxing trip.  We arrived as the sun was setting over Van Damm State Park, so my pictures are a little hazy and don't do the view justice, but I still had to share them.  We took a short hike into Van Damm, and I was reminded how beautiful natural ferns are.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving~

In our family, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the positive things in life.  We are thankful for wonderful, supportive friends and family, this year more than ever.  Please know that we feel so blessed to have you in our lives and we thank you for allowing us to be in yours.  We pray that each and every one of you has a special love-filled day.  

Monday, November 24, 2008


Travis and I want to send out a HUGE congratulations to our great friends Chuck and Laura, they're getting married!!!!  We love you guys and we're so happy for you!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wine Tasting

For the past few years we have been attending the "Passport Weekends" in Santa Cruz Mountains.  A few weekends ago, the Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries hosted the Passport Weekend again.  We, as a family, decided that we would have our own tasting weekend instead of revisiting wineries.  What a blast!!!!  My parents, Travis' parents, Sara, Travis and myself had such a good time!  We tasted 14 bottles of wine and had FANTASTIC food prepared by Linda and Sara.  The group favorites were the 2006 Zinzilla Zin  and the 2005 Oreana Red Table Wine (? label).  We set a price limit and we all brought a few bottles of wine.  The only rule was that the buyer had to purchase wine that they had never tried before.  What a great way to try new wines and visit with each other.  Long live wine tasting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day!  Today was a wonderful day to reflect on all the people who have risked their lives for our freedom.  I want to give a special thank you to my father-in-law, Travis' father, Ed, and my grandfather, Bob. Thank you for risking your life and well-being to make sure that we, the future generations, have the freedom that your generation had.  I pray that we are able to do the same for our future generations, as you have for ours.  Thank you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Jersey

I just returned home from a three-day precision teaching conference in New Jersey.  Even though it was humid and rainy, it was beautiful.  I didn't anticipate seeing the beautiful colors of fall, so I didn't pack my camera.  Thank goodness for camera phones!  This was a little cemetery around the corner from the hotel.  One of the hotel workers told me that even the current colors are dull compared to the colors from a few weeks ago.  Apparently I missed the red part of the cycle, but the "dull colors" of New Jersey were still much more vibrant than the colors of fall in the valley.  *sigh* I love the East Coast.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

We voted, did you?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's Fall!

We had our first thunder storm of the season and it was a fantastic show!  I heard the first rumbles of thunder around 3:30 and it continued until 8ish.  They predict more rain for Halloween.  Know what that means?  Snow in the mountains!!!  Guess you'll know where to find us this weekend :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Travis has safely returned from Colorado.  He spent 6 days with this dad and a number of other men, hiking the beautiful hillsides.  He took a few pictures for me- now I want to go!  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween already?

Happy Halloween!  Hayley and Mac have already visited one of the local pumpkin patches and purchased their decorations (baby not included in pumpkin!)
Trace is already 7 months old and cute as can be.  He's finding his voice and trying to talk to everyone.  Laura is 2 1/2 and completely potty trained!  Yay for Laura!!!!  Hopefully I will be able to post a few pictures of the kids in their costumes...I think Hayley and Mac are still waiting for Laura to decide what she wants to be....she's a big girl and wants to pick for herself :)
Can you believe Halloween is here already?  It was just Labor Day!  The stores already have Christmas decorations for sale *sigh*

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Survey Time!

I've been tagged by my friend Sarah (who's a sucker for lists), to complete this survey (and you know I'm a sucker for Talk about myself? O000kay.)  Since Travis is enjoying his nature hikes in Colorado, this survey will reflect me, and me alone.

Four Random Things I Like About My Husband:
1) He can fix anything.
2) He gardens.
3) He's patient with me.
4) He lets me help him do things, without his manhood being threatened.

Four Jobs I've Had:

1) Babysitter for the church nursery.
2) Merchandiser and sales rep for my dad's company.
3) waitress/student
4) Autism Specialist/Behavior Analyst.

Four Movies I've Watched More Than Once:

1) Dirty Dancing
2) Sound of Music
3) Forrest Gump
4) The Sixth Sense.
(I LOVE movies.)

Four TV Shows I Watch:

1) Brothers and Sisters
2) Grey's Anatomy
3) Eureka
4) CSI (only Las Vegas- and don't know if I'll be able to keep watching after Grissom leaves!)

Four Places I've Been:

1) On the top of a mountain as the sun sets and the moon rises.
2) the deathbed of someone I loved.
3) the pound to give a home to a dog in need.
4) the alter with the man I love.

 Four of My Favorite Foods:

1) Potatoes.
2) asparagus
3) pears
4) walnuts

Four Places I'd Like to Visit:

1) Ireland
2) Sweden
3) Alaska
4) a field in the Midwest surrounded by flat fields as far as the eye can much so you can see the curvature of the earth and no McMansions. 

Four Things I am Looking Forward to in the Coming Year:
1) Relaxing into my new job.
2) Spending time with Travis, now that we're both out of school
3) Snow, snow, snow.
4) The end of election campaigns

Four People I Tag:

1) Hilary (even though she's already been tagged)
2.) Amanda
3) Jessica
4) Dawn from Taba-ville

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Basil, Basil, Basil...I love Basil.

We made our first batch of pesto this afternoon.  The house smells fantastic, and I can't wait for dinner to try it out.  It was so much easier than I thought it was going to be.  Thank goodness Travis likes to try new things.  He trimmed back three of the six basil bushes this morning and I plucked the leaves off them for at least an hour.  My hands smell great, and the garden looks good, who could ask for more :)  Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


We went on my first sailing trip for Ed's birthday.  We ahd a fantastic time and the weather was beautiful.  I couldn't have asked for a better day.  

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ed!

We drove over to Santa Cruz to celebrate Ed's birthday.  We had a wonderful visit with the fam, the weather was much more enjoyable than Turlock, and the trip ended much too quickly.  We're already planning our next trip over!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Getting by

We'd like to send out a huge thank you to all of you.  Your many notes of thoughts and prayers have been so helpful to us during this time of transition.  It truly helps to know that so many people are out there supporting us.  Please know that we are slowing making our way through this experience; God has a plan for us and our family and we do not question it.  

Without knowing it, all of your support has shown us God's desire for us to rely on our friends.  We are choosing to learn from this experience, and one of the many things we've learned is how precious life is, in its many forms, including friendship.  Thank you for reaching out to us and helping us in our time of need.  You have helped remind us of how blessed we are.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sad News

Travis and I went for an ultrasound on Monday afternoon and were met with devastating news.  Our pregnancy was not viable; we will not be having a baby in April as anticipated.  
We are taking strength in our faith, trusting that everything happens for a reason.  
Thank you for all your support as we make our way through this time in our lives and move forward toward things yet to come.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


We tried to call the cat Rover, but she never responded, so we settled on Dotti, which she loves.  Every time we call her Dotti, she meows back at us.  I'm so relieved we finally know her name!  Dotti came about because of this darling spot she had in the center of her spot.  As you can see from the pictures, she really does believe she's no different from the dogs- she even tried to play tug-of-war with Belle (Belle won, but Dottie was a good sport!) I added the picture of Tanner because he's just so cute :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Labor Day '08

Travis and I  have been having a really tough time with the heat lately, so we took a trip to visit the fam in SC for the long weekend.  We went from 111 (on the east side of 156 Pacheco Pass) to 86 (on the west side of Pacheco Pass) to 72 (on West Cliff in Santa Cruz).  I'm already counting down the days until we get to go back.

The other big news is our cat, Rover, is a girl! The vet said she's barely 6 weeks and doing fine.   We're still going to call her Rover, just suits her.  I just wish she and the dogs got along a little better ;0)

Monday, August 25, 2008

A little needy

Poor Tanner- with the new cat around he seemed to need a little more attention than usual.