Sunday, March 21, 2010

Basketball and babies!

March is supposed to come in like a lion and out like a lamb. This year, it came in with a Lucy Ann Bohannon, who was born on March 1 in Raleigh, NC. Mom and "frynde" Adrienne, Dad Patrick and Lucy are all doing well. Isn't she a little cuddlebug?

March 1 was actually our friend Carolyn's due date, but her and husband Ryan's son Blake Thomas Becker decided not to make his appearance until the 10th! But wasn't he worth the wait? We visited them yesterday and I'm completely in love. He looks like a little man - so much like Ryan. What a sweetie. I offered to set up Blake and Lucy in a few years.

Speaking of births, we celebrated mine a couple of weeks ago with a trip to Napa and an awesome dinner here in the city. It was low-key, relaxing and fun - exactly what I needed.

And then there's basketball. It's no secret that - other than Christmas - March madness is my favorite time of year. Selection Sunday started off a little dicey with the Cats almost losing to Mississippi State in OT in the SEC tournament, but the scrappy Cats pulled through and got that #1 seed in the South region. Here I am doing the John Wall dance.

Too bad their second round draw was Wake Forest (provided that Wake could be Texas in the first round). Almost surprisingly, given Wake's tournament performance in recent years, Brian, college friend Julie and I were able to celebrate Wake's success on Thursday night.

Everyone always asked who I'd cheer for if Wake and Kentucky ever played each other, and I had always been able to successfully evade the question until yesterday. Let's be honest. My bracket had Kentucky winning, but then again my bracket was already jacked because of Louisville and Kansas (oh well!). And I want the team that wins to actually have a chance at winning the title. No offense to the Deacs, but they haven't exactly been consistent. But at the end of the day, while I love Wake, I grew up bleeding blue and my love for college basketball is because of Kentucky. Having said that, I did my best to represent both.

We watched the UK-Wake game in a Kentucky bar that surprisingly exists in San Francisco, and I found my emotions surprisingly split! The UK fans totally welcomed me - WF Tervis tumbler and all - although they took every opportunity to give me stink eye when Wake scored. Unfortunately for Wake, it wasn't often enough. No more feeling torn until potentially the NCAA finals when Brian hopes for a Syarcuse-Kentucky rematch from 1996. Now THAT would be a good game!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Day and Stuff

February has really flown by and we've been busy, though I'm not sure it's all worth blogging about tonight. How is it already the 21st though? Not that I'm complaining!

Last weekend was Valentine's Day, and my Valentine carried on our normal tradition of cooking dinner for me. It all started seven years ago, when he served up salmon, crispy broccoli and undercooked rice. You might recall last year's post, when Brian nearly set the kitchen on fire.

This year, he made a delicious pasta bake with turkey sausage, tomatoes, bell peppers and cheese.

It was delicious and I have to say, I was really impressed by his culinary skills. I told him he could cook anytime. So far that's not going so well.

And per our tradition, we dined on heart-shaped plates. He also took me to see the movie Valentine's Day, which was fun and cute. I know he must love me if he's willing to endure a romantic comedy in the theater!

This week I babysat Kelly and Matt's daughter, Ella. She is about 16 months and absolutely adorable, even if she is putting on a fake pouty face here.

Actually she was really lively and spunky most of the night, even though she had a little cold. What a sweet face!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Sorry for the delay in between blog posts! I've been busy the past three weekends with baby showers and Capitola 3.0.

Two weeks ago was Carolyn's baby shower in Sacramento. So fun! Audrey and I rode up from the city to celebrate Baby Becker. Here's a pic with the girls.

Last weekend I flew into Raleigh, where Emily and I hosted a baby shower for Adrienne. It was such a great weekend! I miss those girls so much and wish we could all live in the same place (maybe someday I'll make it back so we're at least in the same state - here's to hoping!). We immediately went to Sonic, and later headed over to the old Wake Forest campus in ... Wake Forest!
Here we are on the main quad. I couldn't believe how similar the Winston-Salem campus is to the original! All the buildings looked exactly the same, especially...

...the original version of Wait Chapel. We wanted to go in, but as you can see, some people were taking wedding photos so we kept our distance. It was so neat to see where the university before it moved to Winston-Salem until the 1950's. The old campus is now home to a theological seminary.

Adrienne's shower was on Sunday. Here we are ready for the guests to arrive!

Here's Adrienne with Emily's cherry limeaid punch (not from Sonic, but tasted like it!) and a red velvet baby booty cupcake. So cute!

Adrienne's grandmother couldn't attend the shower but she sent this beautiful handmade heart-patterned blanket for Lucy. It has a label in it that says "Handmade by my great-grandmother Joann Smith." Isn't that sweet? Lucy received many wonderful gifts - she's going to be all set when she arrives in about six weeks!

This weekend was our annual girls' trip to - as Lisa Marie would say - "a town called Capitola." LMB had a client event in the city on Thursday, so she took the Capitol corridor train into SF Wednesday night. She came to book club with me, stayed Wednesday and Thursday nights with us, and we just hung out, relaxed and caught up on some much needed R&R together. It was great to have company on the long, rainy and windy ride down (Lisa Page was with us too) to Capitola where we met the other girls. We always rent a condo of a friend of Carmen's, hang out, drink wine, laugh, and do whatever we feel like. Unfortunately for Facebook and the blog, much of our lounging around happened in pajamas that first night, so I'm just posting this photo of us from our trip into town.

Capitola 3.0: Lisa Page, me, Jen, Carmen, Katy, Veronica, Lisa Marie, Carolyn and Baby Becker

This was the first time all eight of us were able to go, and it will be the last time without kids in our lives. No matter what changes take place over the next few years, I'll always be grateful for the moments when we can sneak away from the rest of our lives and just enjoy each other. I have wonderful friends.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Go Big Blue!

California's a blue state...and so is Kentucky. To show our support for the Cats' big game against the Cards today, we broke out our big blue today.

From our veggie trays... our t-shirts and Snuggies...

to our tennies! With 3:44 left, they're up 10 but this game is far from over...fingers crossed!

This blog post is dedicated to the memory of Syracuse's undefeated streak, which ended with an upset by Pitt at the Carrier Dome today. I am not prepared to mourn the loss of two undefeated teams today, so GO BIG BLUE! A loss by Louisville would also mean that I can remain friends with Mike Watts despite his blatant distaste for the wonderful Coach Calipari. He's still bitter that he went to Sac State.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Jib Jab Ever

By far the best Jib Jab ever, starring Brian, Tim, Jeff, Dad and Poppy. Enjoy. I have tears streaming down my face laughing, and I can't stop watching it.

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The push-up scene might be my favorite!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Christmas miracle & fun times at home

Thursday and Friday of last week were pretty stressful. Not only did Brian and I have busy weeks at work, but we were also concerned we wouldn't be able to travel home due to the huge winter storm getting ready to hit the Eastern Seaboard. We were scheduled to leave Saturday at 3:30 p.m. PT, which meant that our flight wasn't scheduled to land until midnight ET in Newark. By Friday night, it seemed that our chances of making it on time were pretty slim. You might find this hard to believe, but I was actually the calm one! I didn't lose hope, even though it looked doubtful.

Saturday was Brian's birthday, so after a nice breakfast and packing, we headed to the airport. All he wanted was to make it home. We couldn't believe it when our flight took off on time...

...or when we landed on this snowy runway at Newark on time! Unbelievable.

The most difficult part of our travels? Getting a cab to Dale's house. We didn't want her to risk it on the road, and we ended up sharing a cab with a flight attendant who told us we were within 5 minutes of being diverted to Buffalo or Albany. Whew! Here I am waiting in the cab's fr-fr-fr-freezing out there!

It was so snowy, the cab had to drop us off half a block away. Brian plowed the streets with our suitcases. We were just happy to be home - a Christmas miracle!

On Sunday, we went to Erin & Jeff's to celebrate Christmas and do our gift exchange. Here's Momma Neal with her babies.

Here are Erin & Jeff with Mr. Belvedere (in the Santa outfit) and Fifi (in her pink Snuggie).

Fifi wasn't the only one wearing a pink Snuggie. Momma Neal got one for Christmas, but I think it looked awesome on Nicole as she modeled the Twilight series she received for her birthday. Don't forget the book lamp!

We really have to pose our family pictures better, but at least everyone's smiling and Jeff's eyes are open.

The next day, Tim, Nicole, Momma Neal, Brian and I caught my first Broadway show: Next to Normal. It was incredible - the topic was quite heavy and emotional - but it was really amazing. Check it out if you have time when you're in the city.

Since our visit was short, we missed the big family get-together, but several family members met us halfway between Kearny and Pennsylvania. Here's Zak, Brian's cousin, with his grandparents. Zak's 2-month old sister Zaylee also met us and slept through lunch.

Zak looks a LOT like Brian did when he was a toddler, and I'm convinced we're going to have all boys someday. I'd be pretty happy if our sons were as cute and as smart as Zak!

Speaking of babies.... Though we didn't have time for much else in the city, we were able to meet up with Mike & Jen at the last minute. Look at Jen! Don't she and Madelynn Rose look great for 24 weeks?

After that, it was time to head to Kentucky for round 2 of our trip. We arrived after an uneventful flight on Wednesday and enjoyed a quiet evening at home with my parents - just what we needed.
The next day we met my aunt and my great uncle for lunch near the farm, followed by our first trip to my Dad's new cabin. After my grandfather died last summer, Dad didn't really have anywhere he could just chill and come and go at his leisure on the farm, so he built this rustic man cave. I was actually pretty impressed, both with its size and its construction.

I couldn't help but have a little fun. Dad brought up a ton of trophies that previously hung in his office (pre-retirement). I thought it would be fun to snuggle up in the bunk bed with the once-cuddly black bear.

Unfortunately, due to flight prices and scheduling, we had to leave on Saturday vs. Sunday. That meant that we missed the annual Paris girls' (and now boys') Christmas party. Luckily we got to visit with Lauren, Todd, Amy and her family. I miss my girls!

This year's Christmas theme was Asian. Here's Dad with his hand-carved Balinese wind chimes.

And here's Mom with one of her gifts, a palm wood mortar and pestle from Malaysia - just perfect for this pharmacist's collection.

Brian's favorite gift? One he gave himself. He has searched far and wide - practically all sports stores in the Bay Area and New York City metro area, in addition to online shops - in vain for this one particular baseball glove. Guess where he found it....Maysville, Kentucky. Since he couldn't find it online, we figured it was out of production but the sports store in Maysville must have had some left over. He was pretty pumped, as you can see!

The annual picture. Mom said it looked like I was wearing Santa's belt!

Granny K. and Poppy came over on Christmas Day. Jake helped Poppy unwrap his presents.

Granny K. modeled her new scarf from Thailand. Doesn't she look pretty? The coasters beside her are also from Bangkok.

We had a wonderful trip, but it was all too fast. Since we've been home I've unpacked, cleaned, cooked and done just about everything domestic in an attempt to avoid one of my least favorite tasks of the year: taking down the tree. For now, I'll just continue to enjoy it. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Christmas Pickle!

Every Christmas during my childhood, I looked forward to receiving new ornaments from my mom's college friends. Thanks to them, I have tons of wonderful ornaments and memories alike.

Emily, Adrienne and I decided that once we had children, we would also exchange ornaments among our children in lieu of gifts for each other. This year we're celebrating Charlotte's second Christmas, and Lucy's first (and only) in utero, and they each received ornaments from China this year. Since we don't have kids (yet), Brian and I the lucky recipients of said ornaments for now.

Today our ornament from Emily, Ryan and Charlotte arrived - a Christmas pickle!

I've seen them in stores before but never really knew the story. Not surprisingly, Emily packaged it up with a special rhyme:

"To start a tradition that surely will last. Here's a short story about the pickle of glass. The night before Christmas it's hung on the tree. While everyone's sleeping it's done secretly. And on Christmas morning when you arise, the first one to find it will get a surprise."

We won't be here on Christmas - and even if we were, there wouldn't be a ton of competition to find it - so I decided to hang it proudly for the rest of the season. Someday we'll make hiding the pickle a family tradition.

Here's a look at some of our other new ornaments this year.

One of my favorites, a handmade ornament from China.

China was really the only country that seemed to catch on to how much Westerners like Christmas ornaments. I realize that Christmas isn't as prevalent in Asia, but certainly a country like Singapore - with so many expats - would realize the marketing genius in selling ornaments to tourists. Well, lucky for me, the Singapore Flyer had a bookmark with a ribbon that I transformed into an ornament. I think it's pretty!

On the left, another ornament from China (to commemorate Brian's inquiry to our Great Wall tour guide if we were going to see pandas. Um, no...). And on the right, an initial ornament from the Easter Bonnie.

The Easter Bonnie always sends us new ornaments each year. This year she sent Brian a Yankees snowman to commemorate their World Series win.

Back to the lack of ornaments in Asia, this is a traditional Balinese mask. I'm not sure how it's intended to be used, it's so small. I thought it would make a nice Christmas ornament. Unlike the Singapore Flyer, it's a little scary for the tree, but I left it anyway.

Adrienne sent Brian this Yankees heart for his birthday (it's a week from Saturday).

My mom also sent me this globe on the left to celebrate our Asian adventures. Yes, that's Joe Torre on the left (but it doesn't look like him!)

And this is a ceramic ornament from the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. It's the traditional pattern found on the hotel's dishes and such. I bought this ornament on the day Michael Jackson died. Isn't it weird that a gravy boat will always remind me of the King of Pop every Christmas?