Sunday, April 24, 2011


We do the same things for Easter every year - breakfast at the in-laws, Easter Egg Hunt and brunch with my mom and Joe.  Last year, Easter was on our 1st wedding anniversary, but this year, Easter was a day after the twins' birthday and 4 days after my mom's birthday, so we had a week/weekend full of fun!

We woke up and went to breakfast at Patty and Henry's and then participated in the annual Easter egg hunt.  All the kids - Ian, me, Kelly (sis-in-law), Leith (bro-in-law) and Ashley (Leith's wife) line up and prepare to fight for money filled eggs.  Every year we run around like crazy trying to get the most eggs (money) before everyone else, and usually we are victorious.  Sometimes we have spectators (my mom, Ashley's parents, Ian's parents), and sometimes there's a baby in the way (our nephew Reggie can walk this year!) - but we run around them trying to find the most eggs!

For all that were wondering, Ian and I usually collect the most money (as a couple).  Ian was the big winner for a couple of years in a row, and then Leith won in 2009 and Kelly in 2010, but this year - Ian won again!  We took home the big bucks and had SO MUCH FUN! 

Here are some hunt pictures from over the years (I couldn't find 2010!):

(2007 - my first year.  Note the plastic bag, thanks Patty.)




Reggie even got to have his first Egg Hunt this year too (although he only had candy in his eggs):

Kelly and I before we started (matching sunglasses):

And, if you've ever wanted to see what this hunt is really like, here is a video (and this was even after the initial frenzy!):

So, after Ian and I won, we heaedd out to brunch with my mom and Joe.  We try to go somewhere different every year, and this year it was the Scottsdale Princess.  The food was just ok, it was really fancy and we sat outside (which got kind of hot), but we DID get a professional picture with the Easter bunny (which I LOVE):

And some more photos:

(my mom and I on our way!)

(Gorgeous lake with real lily pads and a crane!)

(Mini flower on my mousse egg that is on my plate FULL of chocolate fountain!)

(I LOVE chocolate fountains!)

It was a really fun day full of family and food.  Ian and I usually make the mistake of eating too much at Patty and Henry's so that when we get to brunch we are stuffed, but this year we did pretty good.  We are also currently trying out the gluten free thing so I did pretty well with sticking to that today too.  We are resting on the couch, still stuffed, and deciding what to spend our Hunt moola on.  We are thinking an iPad . . .

Thanks to Patty and Henry for putting this on every year, and to my mom and Joe for a delicious brunch!  Happy Easter!

Oldies but Goodies

I miss photos.  The ones you keep in a box, the ones you can touch and hold, the ones that are not always perfect.  No one prints them out anymore, now we just have endless amounts of them on our computer, the same ones taken over and over just to see if we could get a better smile or angle or light.  So many repeats, no room for mistakes.  

I wish I had the time to print out photos and put them in photo albums like we used to.  I wish I could go through the thousands (maybe millions?) and organzie them somehow, so that we could look at them and access them easily.  And, I wish I could go back and organize all the old ones I have, get them out of the shoe box and into albums themselves.  There is just never enough time!

Like Christine once said - what will our kids do when they want to look at our old pictures?  Flip through our computers?  That's not nearly as fun as looking through old albums.  I agree.

So, here are some old photos I thought you'd enjoy.  It was the twins' birthday yesterday (and I just reorganized my attic) so I had some old photos of all of us that I wanted to share.  I brought them out with us and we all had so much fun looking through them, it would be nice if they had been in an album instead of just stuffed in my purse.  Oh well.

Here is a recent picture of the twins to get you started (on their birthday yesterday):

And some oldies:

And a recent one of Christine and I:

And some oldies:

And, while I'm at it, I thought I'd include some old pictures of me for your entertainment as well:

So, there you have it, a bunch of oldies but goodies (both the photos AND the ladies!).  Ugh, photos - so much fun!  I have many more around here and I hope that one day I get to scanning them (to preserve), printing newer ones and putting them all in albums.  It would be such a shame to let them go to waste, just sitting in a shoebox or on a computer.  It has been a fun trip down memory lane . . .

Monday, April 18, 2011


If you haven't read the book Eat, Pray, Love - you should.  It is nothing like the movie and it completely changed my life in many ways, gave me a different outlook on almost everything.  Some books will do that to you and this is definitely one of them, a total life-changer.  

Anyway, in this book Liz Gilbert talks about happiness.  You know that moment where you are driving along and everything just seems to click?  That feeling of extreme contentment, where your life seems to be where it is supposed to be at that exact moment?  That elated feeling that you strive for but instead comes at the strangest times?  She writes about this:

"I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness.  She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough.  But that's not how happiness works.  Happiness is the consequence of personal effort.  You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.  You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.  And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it . . . It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress, but continuing to pray even when your crises has passed is like a sealing processs, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."

The medicine man in the book, Ketut, also speaks about happiness.  I think he says something like it's that feeling that you get, that perfect feeling of contentment - and that you should have it all the time.  If you walk around feeling like that all through your life, you have reached enlightenment, your true path.  I had no idea this was possible.

It really stuck with me, the part about working towards it and being able to feel like that all the time.  I want that in my life and for awhile there, I lost it.  So, I thought I'd make a list of all the small moments of happiness I've found over the past couple of weeks, the times where it was just me feeling that feeling and realizing just how lucky I am to be alive.  I will hold on to these and put them in my "bank" and remember them and work towards feeling this way again.

  • Watching a hummingbird first fly in and out of my tree, then fly in and out of a neighbor's orange tree.  I must have watched him for about 10 minutes and even saw him sitting still on one of our branches - they never sit still!
  • Sitting in my classroom, at my desk, and hearing a small chirp.  Looking up at my high windows (barely windows at all) and seeing a little bird (not a pigeon like sometimes) but a small bird just chirping away at something.  I tried to record it but he flew off, he just came for a visit.
  • Riding in the back of a truck (when is the last time you did this?!).  My husband caught me on his way home while I was taking the trash out so I hoped in the back of his truck and rode down the street.  Wind in my hair, bumping along.
  • Dancing to a french pop band in a crowded club with two of my best friends.  Not caring about anything else, just feeling the music, being part of the crowd and letting the beat move you.  Nothing like it.
  • Coming home at 1am the other night and hearing the loudest bird in a neighbor's tree just singing away.  What was it doing up so late (or so early)?  Who was it talking to?  I even heard it as I was going to bed that night.
  • Sleeping in and waking up to a clean room.  My room is painted baby blue and I have white furniture and light wood floors.  I designed it to look really beachy, so that when I wake up (in my cloud bed) and open my eyes, it looks like I'm in a beach house by the ocean.  So amazing.
  • A student coming up to my desk today and telling me, "Mrs. W, you're so beautiful."  After asking her what she wanted, she said nothing and that was it, she just wanted to tell me that.  It's moments like that that make teaching worthwhile.  As teachers, we always store these up, because we get so few of them, and draw on them when we are frustrated or feeling down.
  • Dancing at a wedding with my sisters-in-law, we were the only ones on the dance floor.  Not caring what anyone thought, just dancing to our husbands' (and brothers') music.  I never thought that I would have sisters, but now I have 4.  I love it.
  • Finishing a series of amazing books, laughing out loud and crying while reading them.  Getting totally immersed in the book, forgetting about everything else.  Feeling like a character in a really great novel.
  • Feeling the spring sun on my face when I go outside.  Not having to wear a sweater in the mornings.  I love it when summer is on its way.  Especially this year, we had a long, dark winter and am looking forward to brighter, sunnier days ahead!
  • Reaching my hand out in bed and having my husband's hand find mine.  Holding hands laying in the dark, knowing that no matter what we can do anything together.

So, take a moment to reflect on those moments of happiness you have had in the past few days.  Hold on to them and work towards feeling that feeling all the time.  It is possible, I know it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2 Year Anniversary

This past week we celebrated our two year wedding anniversary.  It is crazy that we have been married for two years!  And what a year it has been . . .

We decided to celebrate on the 2nd, even though our anniversary wasn't until the 4th (it was a Monday).  We woke up Saturday, laid around until about 2 (I was hungover from the boys' show at the Hard Rock!) and then headed to the zoo.  We got married at upper lakeside at the Phoenix Zoo and then had our reception was in the Stone House Pavilion.  This year is especially funny because prom was this weekend, on the 9th, and at the zoo too!  So we were at the zoo twice in one week and prom was in the same building we had our reception in, lots of memories.

We got engaged in September 2007, and in November of that same year, my friend June went with us to the zoo to take some engagement photos.  Here is our wedding spot from those pictures:

We took our parents back to the site to show them where we wanted to get married in March 2008:

And in April 2008, we went back on the day we were going to be married (the next year) to see what it would be like:

And then, in 2009, we had our wedding at the zoo in the same spot (and they started building a komodo dragon enclosure, note the fence!):

Last year, in 2010, we went back to celebrate (check out the buildings next to it now):

And so this year, we had to go back again (poor grass, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the new home for another animal next year, will be so sad!):

We also decided to go to the same restaurant we went to our on 1st anniversary (since they have organic meats and such yummy food.  However, this year, the food was not so great.  We went on a Sunday last year so it was empty and this time it was a Saturday and kind of crowded (which means not great service).  The menu was different but I swore we had an old one because I ordered what I got last year and it was completely different (and not good).  But, the pictures we re-created were awesome, check them out:









So, you can tell we are a year older and maybe a little weathered, but I think they turned out kind cute.  I can't wait to go back next year (just for the pics, not the food!) so we can get some more!

I know that you've heard me talk about my husband many times before, but since this is an anniversary post, I thought I'd better add some things about him here too. :)  Without him this year, I would have withered away into nothingness.  Ian saved me from myself when I was depressed for the first time in my life.  He stood by me at my worst, at my saddest, and brought me back to life.  It has been a very difficult year for us, and it has put some strains on our relationship.  But, in the end, we came out the other side together and stronger.  I would have not been able to do any of this without him.  I love him more than anything and if I forget to tell him every day, I hope he knows it.  Don't forget to tell the man/woman in your life how much you love them as often as possible, and how much they have added to your life over the years.  I hope to always celebrate our anniversary, and one day take our future babies to the zoo with us too.

And, since this is a post about our years together, I thought I'd include some old pics of us for all to see.  Don't laugh, we've been together since 2005, and some of these are hilarious!  Enjoy.