December 29, 2011

And...We're Off!

Aloha from Honolulu!

After 13 hours of travel we have arrived. Good news - It's stll just as gorgeous here as it was the last time we visited in 2009-2010. We were greeted with customary leis that were beautiful & smelled AMAZING!


After recovering from the plane ride we visited the super market to pick up some food to snack on while staying w/Cory's Aunt Beth. It was a bit shocking that everything costs double what it does at home! But, since the vast majority has to be shipped over, not really that shocking when you think about it.

We relaxed by the pool briefly & walked to dinner at Gordon Biercsh in Aloha Tower. And then - best part - we slept for 12+ hours. We were tired pups.

On Tuesday we woke up & walked a couple of miles to Ward Warehouse, got shut down trying to go to the farmer's market (they wouldn't let Cory take his backpack in), bought some gifts for family & did a little shopping for ourselves, of course. We grabbed some sushi & bento bowls from a corner shop in downtown Honolulu on our way back to Beth's condo & hit the beach!

My Beach Read - finally finished this baby.



There are so many beaches on Oahu, the one we went to yesterday is called Ala Moana (in Hawaiann this means "By the Ocean"). People were everywhere - playing beach volleyball, paddle boarding, jogging, grilling out, hanging with their family & friends, swimming, laying out, napping, reading - you name it. I had a lovely time laying out in the sand, reading & feeling the warm sun on my skin, while Cory was in & out of the water. Then we took walk on the beach, which is something we've only done in Mexico on our honeymoon. It was nice. Until I stubbed my toe. : /

 
Tuesday evening we met some of Beth's friends at this tiki bar-style restaurant called La Mariana. The service was bad (hey - what did we expect from a tiki bar), the booze was good, the food was decent & the company was hilarious. A couple of big wig woman from NYC, a sweet retired lady - who loves her liquor - and us. : )

On the walkway to the restaurant.

We finished the evening with a night cap at Shirley's (above mentioned sweet retired lady) because she lives a couple floors down from Beth & has a lanai (read - deck). Good day.


On Wednesday we slept in, hung around the condo until we were hungry for lunch & decided to walk around downtown in search of something yummy. Not hard to find. First we hit up Starbucks where I very happily ordered an ICED grande skinny vanilla latte.


 Then we grabbed some sushi & headed back in. It was time for diving!!
Beth LIVES to dive & has done so around the world. Cory had not been diving for about 5 years, so he was looking forward to getting back out there. Me? I stayed on the boat & sunbathed. : ) I had planned to snorkel, but the water was too cold for my taste. I better toughened up though, my sweet husband booked us a 2 hour paddle board lesson on Friday & I'm pretty sure that I will not be using the "cold water" as an excuse!

On the dive boat.

The Dive Tanks.

Hottie.


But the water out in the ocean was so blue, it was unbelievable. Sadly, to me it looked like food coloring blue, but I'm sure that someone else has a prettier description of the exact blue that it is. Unbelievable. I've seen turquoise waters but never any like this.


In the evening we took Pepper (Beth's new Mini-Cooper) down to Ward, where we grabbed a bite to eat at Wahoo & listened to live music. The band was called Simple Souls & they covered songs from Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." Super cool. I bought two of their CDs on the spot. Then we walked down to the movie theater & watched New Years Eve.


Truthfully, we paid for tickets to The Descendants, which was filmed on this island, but decided to sneak in to a movie that hadn't started yet & come back for The Descendants another night. NYE was not as bad as we were expecting & it got me super excited for our very own NYE in Hawaii!

So that's where we leave off - I plan to blog more about our trip after we go live it!

Aloha!!








December 25, 2011

Christmas Week Wrap Up

In the past week:

I've had a busy week at work, wrapping everything up for the year. There is no pressure like the pressure one puts on oneself when trying to disconnect for a whole 17 days. In order for the disconnect to happen, lots more things need to be wrapped up than initially come to mind.



Thankfully, I was able to get to a really good ending point for the year & the first three days of no work email have been less painful than I thought they would be.

Yep, you read that right - I turned off my work email on my phone - so the goal is to not check it until Monday, Jan. 9th when I return to the office. I'll let you know how that goes.

After receiving a facial by my friend, Julie & a mani/pedi with my mom & sister, I feel ready to board the plane to Hawaii. Oh yeah, I just have to pack. Yet here I sit, blogging on my iPad w/my sweet new wireless keyboard (thanks Dad & Terri!)

On Friday Cory & I went on our 4th Annual Bonefish & Christmas light date night. The dinner & conversation were better than ever. Instead of our usual booth, we sat big-city booth style at a little two topper, half being a long booth shared by many parties & the other half chairs. It was a nice change up.

I made it through Christmas Eve & Day with my sweet, crazy, chaotic, lovable family. It was quite possibly one of the best Christmases yet.




So I plan to polish off the glass of Christmas wine (thanks Erica!) that I just poured myself, pick up my husband from work & let the packing begin!


I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas! We'll be boarding our planed at 6 am - wish me luck on the packing!!

December 18, 2011

Brodie is 4!

My nephew, Brodie had his first Christmas Program this week and it  happened to fall on his 4th birthday. : ) Can I just say that 4 is fun??!!?? He is such a sweet, silly baby (whose not really a baby any more). Here we are goofing around after the program:

Mad/Confused.


Avoiding his Aunt BooBoo's kiss.


Playing keep away with the cookie.


He got the cookie.


And we're happy. : )



December 17, 2011

Tacky Christmas Sweaters

Everybody loves a good Tacky Christmas Sweater Party. This year one of my BFs, Alex had one at her new(ish) apartment.

 Here we are.


And with one of her other BFs. Jordan.



And let's get Cory in on this action.




Good times were had by all. : ) Merry Tacky Christmas!

December 15, 2011

Put on Some Lipstick - A Tribute to Nana




If there was one thing I will remember about our Nana, it was her love of lipstick. And jewelry. And anything fancy.

She was an interior decorator & furniture sales person. She loved to make things pretty & proper.

She was a Democrat in a die-hard Republican family (and my hero because she was the only person who could quiet my stepdad during one of his political rants) - holidays & dinners were always much more lively when she shared her opinion. : )

Here is how this past week went down:

The two weeks prior I had spent preparing for three events (two of them large multi-day events) for work. I made it a point to let my friends & family know that I would have no life during the first week of December because of these events & not to be offended that I had no time for them.

Then I got the news - My mother & stepfather had to drag Jeannette to the hospital on Tuesday evening, thinking that she had suffered a small stroke on Monday. She wouldn't take the ambulence that was called for her, but she DID grab her lipstick before getting into my parents' car.

That night we found out that she had a heart attack on Monday & had gone almost 48 hours afterwards without being treated. She would have to stay the night in the hospital, but not before arguing with the doctors & insisting that my parents bring her lotion & jewelry up if she absolutely had to stay. Later in the evening she suffered a massive heart attack. 

So she was put on life support. Cory & I went to visit on Wednesday for 1/2 an hour or so. She was completely unconcious, so it was mostly to support my stepdad, who was VERY close to her.

I also snuck out of my event on Thursday afternoon to spend a couple of hours with her & my stepdad up at the hospital. She seemed to be getting better, she touched my hand when I put it on her shoulder & told her that I was there. There was a feeling of hope in the air.

But it went downhill from there. We tried to gradually reduce her the life support & she crashed. By Saturday morning the decision was made to take her off of life support. She died around 10:15 a.m.

We had a memorial for her at my parents' church & had her cremated (she didn't trust the mortician to apply her makeup the way she liked it done - no open casket funeral allowed). She's being buried today in Portis, KS where she was raised.




Looking back at the week, this is what I've realized:


1. Life is crazy. Especially for a working girl. But FIRST THINGS FIRST. In my book, family is first. I am SO THANKFUL that I took the time to spend time with her on her final days of life, and be there to comfort & grieve with my family. It was a hard week for me to walk away from work, with all of the events happening that I had been planning for months, but I am truly glad I found a way to work it out.

2. Once I had made the tough decisions: canceling lunch plans with a friend that I hadn't seen in months, exiting an event & having to ask my team to fill in for me, skipping bootcamp (well, that one wasn't so tough) - I just had to LET IT GO. Initially I struggled with the guilt of cancelled committments & wished that I could be in two places at once, but the only thing I could do was let it go. Luckily, I have very supportive & understanding people in my life.

3. Jeanette's death was unexpected. But she was almost 81 years old & her health was slowly deteriorating. But when she past, there were less tears than there were smiles. Less sobs than laughter. She was an amazing woman and she believed in Jesus. She is now in heaven, a better place. It felt so right to be joyful for her. Her life was full of love, family, friends, passion, mess, laughter, joy, beauty - it was blessed.


Thank you for all of the wisdom & life lessons you have passed on to us, Nana. I'm sure you are looking down from heaven right now - lipstick & all. : )

December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

As you know, I love holidays and Thanksgiving is no exception. Although I try to be thankful every single day, this is a time during which we especially focus on all of the blessings in our lives. It's a time to spend with family. It's a time to eat lots of yummy food. It's a time to embrace the craziness. It's a time to slow down.

Here is how I spent my Five Day Thanksgiving Weekend this year:

Wednesday

I took the day before Thanksgiving off to spend some time with my sweet husband. Our work schedules are almost opposite, so we never get 24 hours together unless one of us changes our schedule. This can be hard, but I tell myself that it won't be forever.

Cory has been getting into the hobby of hunting over the last couple of years, thanks to my step-father - an avid hunter. Our family has a cabin in Sedan, KS that Cory wanted to take me to there since I had not been for 15 years or so. Finally, in the giving spirit of the season, I obliged.




This is me, shooting a gun. And don't worry, no animals were hurt in the making of this blog, I was just aiming at a log in the water. Oh, the things we do for love. A plus: I got to sport the cute cowboy boots Cory bought me this past summer.

Thursday

Thanksgiving Day! This year Thanksgiving was a little different. Normally we run to three to four Thanksgivings, which can get a little hectic. In fact, after running around all last Thanksgiving Cory & I decided that we would just have to choose & attend only two Thanksgivings in the future. A lunch & a dinner.

Well, we got our wish. My side of the family was a little scattered this year: My mom went to visit my stepdad's familiy in Portis, KS. My sister went to her inlaws. Our grandmother's husband was in the hospital so she cancelled Thanksgiving at her house. I didn't quite know what to do with myself.

So I slept in, went to the gym (got in some quality chat time w/Alex) & basically walked around like a lost soul until Cory got home from work. We spent the evening with my stepmother-inlaw's family. The meal was great.


Friday

Black Friday! We did this a little different this year as well - it is a year of change, I suppose. Since many stores opened on Thanksgiving or at midnight on Black Friday, we went for it. Here is a picture of us at waiting in the checlkout line atWalmart at 11:30 pm.  


And then later again that day, we went furniture shopping. We found this awesome blue suede sofa at Dillards. Cory vetoed it. : /



Saturday

After a good night's sleep have been had, we spent time together as a family on Saturday. My Uncle Phil was in town from Florida so we had a family game night & skyped my aunt & cousin in. Look at how precious these two babies are:


And we're so excited for the one that's on the way!

Sunday

On Sunday we FINALLY set up our tree & decorated for Christmas! I love days like this. Here are our new, custom ornaments that I got at Holiday Galleria this year.



I thought it would be neat to add a special ornament each year of our marriage. This is our second Christmas together as a married couple, so I thought that this is what I would do for our first year ornament: shred & stuff our wedding invitation.



"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." - Oprah Winfrey