Monday, December 28, 2009

Cali: Day 7

Our last full day in California was spent relaxing again.  We went to Ventura Beach again and got lunch at Chipotle Mexican Grill.  Dave loves that place...I like it too, it's just a little spicy for me.  Dave gave Karissa a piece of chicken and she liked it! I couldn't believe it!  We also went to the mall and Target.

Then we headed back to our resort and enjoyed relaxing on the beach, the park, and our resort for the last time.  Karissa loved to eat the sand and we saw dolphins!  (Look in the bottom center of the picture that looks really gray.)


We were so sad to see our vacation end.  We had a great time and as much as I didn't think I would, I found that I would love another chance to go to California again.  There is just so much to see and the beaches are gorgeous!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cali: Day 6

Our 6th day of vacation was time for another road trip!  We really wanted to go to Santa Monica Pier and drive the Pacific Coast Highway.  I also really wanted to hike one of the hills and see the ocean from up high.  We decided to do it all at once.  We hopped on the Pacific Coast Highway and headed south to Santa Monica.  The drive was GORGEOUS!!!! I LOVED it.  It is even better than you see on tv.  There was a campground right on the beach...I would love to stay there some day!  We kept wondering where the Biggest Loser mile was. :)  I'm sure we passed it and when watching the finale of the Biggest Loser, I'm pretty sure that mile is right near the campground...that's what it looked like.

So we got to Santa Monica and walked around the pier and of course took a ride on the Ferris Wheel.  I originally wanted Karissa to ride the historic carousel, but the ferris wheel had a better view and she liked that. 


On a side note, I guess I never realized that Santa Monica basically is L.A., just the beach area.  I always thought it was different, but it is just a part of L.A.  It's weird on the highways there because earlier in the week we were on a different highway and I saw a sign for Santa Monica and it said West and L.A. said East.  I thought...hmmm...I always thought Santa Monica was the beach, guess I was wrong.  A minute later I realized out there, to go West does go to the beach lol...the directions are backwards compared to here.

From Santa Monica, we headed north, back to Malibu to hike.  Dave's mom decided to sit in the van and wait for us.  We started the was very flat.  I knew we would not be able to see the ocean.  We got to the waterfall and saw a sign that the trail up the mountain to go back was only .3 miles longer than to go back the way we came.  We decided we'd go that way back.  Well, little did we know, it would take a LOT longer going back that way.  It was hard work climbing that mountain, but it was fun.  Soon though, the sun started to set.  I started to get a little nervous, but kept telling myself we'd soon be out of there.  By the time we got to where you could see the ocean, it was too dark. :(  Finally, we saw another sign saying the parking lot was a quarter mile away.  I felt relief.  At this point, the sun was pretty much gone.  I looked down and saw the parking lot.  A minute later, panic set in as I said, "Dave....that's not our parking lot is it?"  He quietly and very seriously replied a simple, "No."


So, I am freaking out at this point...we are in the dark on the side of a mountain and don't know where we are or where our car is.  I am trying my best to stay calm for Karissa who is sleepy and cranky at this point, but I know she can pick up on my stress and so I try to not think about it.  I hear noises in bushes and Dave keeps telling me their birds.  I try to believe him, but birds?  Seriously?  In a bush, at night, moving that much?  So my mind right now is saying, "Lord, please get us out of here soon and safely.  Lord, protect Karissa."  I'm also thinking of an action plan.  We are still following a trail and I see cars in the distance occasionally so I'm planning in my head to go flag down a car if we need to.  I'm planning on handing Karissa to Dave and yelling at him to run and get her safe in the event that a mountain lion appears.  I'm imagining his mom panicking in the van because of course, we had no cell phone reception.  It was crazy.  So we finally got to the end of the trail and knew we were close to the van.  I'll never forget how scared I was and swore I would NEVER hike again unless it was first thing in the morning! lol

The worst part was after we were safely back at our resort, Dave looks online about mountain lions.  He found a map that shows where they are found in red.  Where we were hiking was red.  There was a list of Do's and Don'ts for hiking in a mountain area...No. 1 was Do NOT hike at dusk or dawn when mountain lions are most active.  Oh great.  How thankful I am that we made it safely!!!! What an adventure!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cali: Day 5

So, on Thursday, we decided that even though it would be a lot, we didn't know when we'd be on the west coast again so we were going to take the 4 hour trip to see the Sequoia's.  The drive alone was worth it!  We could not believe how beautiful California was and how different it was!  One minute we are on the coast, soon we were driving through mountains, after the mountains we were in a flat, desert like area, then back into the mountains and then to the Sequoia National Park.  It was a gorgeous drive!  We were entertained with seeing all the different things that are grown there.  I loved that there were signs saying what the trees were.  We saw: strawberries, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, plums, peaches, grapes, olives, pears, etc. etc.  I can't even remember everything we saw.  It was so much fun. 


Eventually, we got to the park.  We stopped in the store to decide where to go and decided to head to General Sherman....the most famous Sequoia.  Little did we know, once you get to the park, you have about another hour to get to the Sequoias because of going up a mountain and the road winds around.  Plus, we had to keep stopping to take pics of the view. :) 


It was amazing how big those trees are.  The pictures you see and anything you've seen about them on tv, just do not do the size justice.  Karissa loved looking at the trees. There was a momma bear and two cubs at the start of the trail.  Karissa loved watching them too and learned how to growl like a bear.  She still loves bears and loves to growl even two months later.


On the way out of the park there was a deer right in the road.  We also saw a mountain lion, but couldn't get a picture of it before it ran off.  It was really cool!


It made for a long day, but we are so thankful that we decided to take that day trip!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Another break from vacation posts to say - Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Hope everyone has a great day with family and celebrating Jesus' birth!  We have a busy day with my parents and then Dave's family...both his sister and brother flew home so we have the whole family together for the first time in a couple years!  Good times!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cali: Days 3 and 4

So back to our California much as I hate that I've waited so long to finish posting, I love that two months later I can still relive our wonderful vacation (especially the warmth considering we still have a foot of snow on the ground in some places lol).

On our third and fourth days, we pretty much just hung out at the beach and the park down the street.  The beach was gorgeous.  You could tell it was chilly for everyone there because hardly anybody was around and those that were didn't have bathing suits on and the few surfers that were in the water had the full, long-sleeve/pants type wet suits on.  The beach was warm, but the water was a little cold.  I thought for sure it would be too cold for Karissa, but she LOVED it!  The bigger the wave, the more she laughed.  I loved the scenery...seeing the beach, the Pacific Ocean, and the mountains, and islands in the distance.  It was amazing to see the hills so close to the beach because I'm so used to our area being so flat and having to go inland to see hills.

Dave and I went to Ventura Beach (the next town over from where we stayed) one night for dinner and his mom stayed with Karissa.  We also happened to be in CA when the Yankees were playing the Angels in the playoffs.  Of course we couldn't pass that up....especially the chance to see a new stadium.  The stadium was nice, but there was NO parking (it was worse than Yankee Stadium) and the game was crappy, but oh well.

So these couple days were relaxing...not much more to say about them. :)


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Sorry I've been MIA.  Our schedules just got SO insane and then I got so far behind I dreaded having to get caught up on here.  It's my blog...I shouldn't dread it.  Then we were without our laptop because our adapter died.  I only checked e-mail during that time because I had to...if I didn't I'd be going through thousands of emails right now.  Our desktop is so slow that I hated being on the computer so I said forget it to anything other than checking e-mail.   Anyway, our laptop is back up and running now and I am so grateful.  I plan to do a few posts to get caught up and see if anybody is still reading.  If I've lost all of our readers, I may give up and  I know it's my fault for not posting anything for two months.  Sorry! But, I hope we still have some readers out there. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cali: Days 1 and 2

So I was worried about Karissa flying. My ears are really sensitive when we fly and they usually pop a lot and sometimes even cause pain. I was praying hers would not bother her the way mine bother me. We got to the airport, through security (why do they tell you that you need to "declare" formula and baby food in your carry on bags if they aren't even going to care...I had to yell to even get the lady's attention and she barely acknowledged it when I told her), and to our gate right as they were part way through boarding. My plan was to put an overnight diaper on Karissa just before the flight so that the chances of me having to change her on the plane decreased, but since we were running late, I didn't have time. For those that have never had to change a baby on an airplane - be thankful.  The plane is moving and you have to try to hold your baby with one hand and change her with the other hand, meanwhile Karissa was screaming because she was scared (I can't blame her, she probably felt like she was about to roll off the table).  I had planned on Dave helping, but the bathroom of course is too small and for him to stand at the door would block the other bathroom that people were using.  What a pain!  The flight actually went well. Karissa didn't seem to have any problems with her ears and was pretty happy most of the flight. She did get a little squirmy at times, but I would just pull out a different toy and she was fine. The only times she cried was when I could tell she was tired and I tried to make her take a nap, so I gave up on trying. She did fall asleep twice for a few minutes each time, so not much, but oh well. When we landed a few people said how good she was.

After we landed, we had to find baggage claim and the rental car shuttles. I was always afraid of LAX and JFK and other really big airports. LAX really is huge, but we didn't have any problems finding where we needed to go, it was just difficult getting through the huge crowds of people with all of our stuff.

At the rental car place, we found out they didn't have any "midsize" vehicles left (it totally reminded me of the "Seinfeld" episode with Jerry renting a car: "You don't have a problem taking the reservation, just keeping the reservation...") so they offered us a minivan. It meant more money spent on gas, but it was kind of nice to have even more room for all of the driving we did during the week.

Finally, it was off to our resort. Let me tell you, TV and all other media are not exaggerating about LA traffic. Anytime we went anywhere, there was a ton of traffic even though almost all of the roads we were on were 8 or more lanes. It took us about an hour to get to Oxnard (the next town over was Ventura Beach). We got checked in and unpacked some stuff. Our apt. was very nice and we were only about 1/2 block to the beach. We checked out the beach and discovered swings and a slide on the beach so Karissa loved that. Then the only other thing we did was go for groceries and then crashed for the night.

On Tuesday, Dave's mom was joining us. We had to go to the airport to pick her up and one of the things I was interested in doing was the LA Zoo, so we figured we'd do that as we were in LA to get Dave's mom. We were late to get his mom because of course we had to sit in more bumper to bumper traffic and I was a nervous wreck because Dave would try to change lanes and people out there don't use signals or give you notice, they just jump from lane to lane without looking or anything. Thankfully, I wasn't driving. We got his mom and headed to the zoo. The zoo was really nice. It was big and had a lot, but not overwhelmingly huge. I haven't been to the Philly Zoo in years, but it kinda reminded me of that only WAY cheaper and free parking. :) Karissa loved to sit up in her stroller to check out the animals. She found many of them funny and would giggle at them. However, the last animal that I expected to be standing in front of for several minutes was the bighorn sheep. Karissa found them hilarious when they would jump from one "mountain" to the other. She would laugh and laugh. Eventually, the other sheep had to come get a better look at her because of all the noise she was making. It was so cute!

We also discovered there was a gorgeous park a few blocks away from our resort with lots of palm trees.  We walked down there and Karissa enjoyed the swings, a dolphin toy (dolphins are my fave) and a sea turtle (Dave's fave...except I cut off the turtle's head...oops).

I was really looking forward to this vacation, but I didn't think California was all that...I kinda thought "It'll be cool to see once, but that'll probably be it." But so far, I was very impressed with the place!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cali Vacation: Before we left

Hey everyone! I am separating our vacation blog into several smaller ones...less time for me to get it typed out and less overwhelming for the readers...if we have any. :)

Before I get to our actual vacation, I need to vent. I debated about not even doing a blog about the vacation. I was actually VERY close to not blogging about it and not saying anything on Facebook about it. It seems like this year EVERYBODY is giving us a hard time about our vacations. We really didn't go on much more this year than any other year so I don't know if it is because everybody says when you have kids all of the traveling stops and we are proving them wrong or what. Let me back up to before Dave and I were married: we agreed before we walked down the aisle that vacations were very important to us. They didn't have to be super fancy or expensive, but getting away from the stresses of everyday life and work and reconnecting as a couple (and family in the future) were very important. In today's world with the divorce rate so high, we want to protect our marriage as much as possible and we knew a vacation away from stress and time to just spend together was very important. So not too long after we had been married, we had the opportunity to purchase a time share. We went into the presentation thinking it would be a rip off, but Dave crunched the numbers (if you know him, you know how good he is at that)and found that if we really did want to vacation as much as we said, it would save us money in the long run.

So at the end of each year, Dave has to put in for his vacation for the next year. In a way, this is a pain, but it also helps us plan what we want to do and start saving for it. (i.e. this Cali vacation was booked and paid for in February). We also put our tax return into a higher interest savings account and that is our vacation money. Now, for this year, which people have been giving us a hard time about:

Hilton Head, SC: This cost us the place for the week (we stay for a whole week for less than what most people spend on a hotel for one night) and half of gas to get down there since we rode together. We invited my family and they offered to buy the food for the week since we were letting them join us. We did go out to lunch one day, but that's it.
Ohio: This was just a long weekend using Dave's days off so he didn't use much vacation time. We stayed with family so no lodging or food costs. This only cost us gas and activities that we did.
King's Fest: We camp to save money and cook all of our meals.
TLC: Dave used vacation time for this, yes, but this was a chance we had to take some teens to a really good conference. One teen got saved, so I'd say this trip was worth it, but it wasn't a "vacation."
Upstate New York/PA: Again we stayed with family so had no lodging or food costs.
California: This trip was probably a bit more expensive only because we decided to do more exploring. Our lodging again was less than one night in a hotel for the week and we bought groceries and cooked most of our meals. The only reason this was a bit more was because California is really big so we spent more in gas to explore different places, but who knows if and when we'd get out there again. We also flew, but Dave found super cheap rates to fly out there.

So hopefully people will understand and stop their "Again???" when we are leaving for another vacation. And if they don't, well, I've decided they can think what they want, we wouldn't trade the family time we have together exploring more of the country for anything and I'm going to enjoy it and cherish it regardless of peoples' reactions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I need a break!!!!!!

So, I love our family and all that we do together. I love every activity that is on my calendar. However, I think I need a break. I have only been getting about 4 hours of sleep at night because my brain just can't shut off from thinking about all that I didn't get done that day, all that needs to get done the next day, the next week, etc. We are leaving Karissa again tonight. :( We're off to another game....hopefully they play and its not postponed, but I also hope we aren't freezing because we're soaked. Tomorrow is our niece's first birthday and a teen event. Sunday is church and we have a teen Bible study and we leave Monday for our vacation to Cali. I'm not sure when in there I am going to pack. I started a little last night, but it's hard because when Karissa is awake she wants to get into everything, but when she's asleep I can't get into her room to get things that I'm thinking of.

I'm also very nervous about flying with her. At first, I was worried about her ears because mine are very sensitive to the pressure changes and usually hurt so I'm worried hers will be too. Now I've moved past that and am just worried about keeping her entertained for the flight. We couldn't really afford to book her a seat so we figured she'd be on our laps, but we booked the flights several months ago so I wasn't thinking about how old she'd be. She's mobile now and doesn't like to sit still. If she'd be in her car seat, she might be okay, but on our laps she's going to want down or to grab our drinks or just move around more than we'll have room for. I guess we'll see.

So needless to say, I haven't weighed in. I don't even want to see the scale. I haven't had time to do any sort of exercise and forget eating healthy. I've totally fallen off the wagon. I need to get back on, but I'm so overwhelmed by everything else that I have to do, I don't know where to squeeze in a 30 min. run. That really stinks because I was really enjoying it. I'll have to figure something out, but it won't be until after next week (although I'm hoping maybe to get a few beach side runs in next week!).

So hopefully my rambling makes sense. If not, remember I'm working on 4 hours of sleep a night for the past couple of weeks!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yankees Playoff Game

As Megan said, we have been very busy lately. One of the most fun things we've done was go to the Yankees playoff game 2 of the division series against the Twins. I won't go into all the details of the game but it was a great game. On the way up to the game we missed an exit and what is normally a 3 hr trip turned into an almost 6 hr trip. That made us late for the game. We really didn't miss anything though because we saw the pitches on tv's while we were walking to our seats. The Yankees gave up a run in the 6th inning and then the Yankees scored in the bottom of the 6th to tie. The Twins took the lead back with 2 runs in the 8th inning. Then in the bottom of the 9th inning Mark Teixeira got his first hit of the series and A-Rod followed that up with a monster home run to tie the game. The stadium was going nuts. It was so awesome. Then after Yankees' pitcher David Robertson got out of a bases loaded and nobody out jam in the 11th inning, Mark Teixeira hit a walk off HR near where we were sitting in the bottom of the 11th to win the game. The place really went nuts then. It took us forever to get out of the parking garage and we didn't get home until 3:30am. It was worth it though. We are going to the ALCS game 1 also against the Angels this Friday and then leave on vacation to California Monday and plan on seeing the Yanks play the Angels in Anaheim also if it works out. Here are some pictures of the game. The last 3 pictures are the big screen after Teixeira's walk off HR, the Yankees celebrating the win, and Teixeira getting a pie in the face from AJ Burnett.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Long time!!!

Sorry everybody! We've been busy, busy, busy. So busy, this past week Karissa and I even missed our library time because I forgot with everything else that was going on. We have so much to update you on.

Karissa's birthday party is in the process of being planned. I think I decided a "theme" even though I wasn't originally going to do a theme. I found one that fits perfectly. Keep your eyes open for invitations and more info.

Friday Dave and I went to a Yankees playoff game. We knew it would be too loud and too late for Karissa so we were going to have someone watch her. It turns out my sister and her son were coming to visit. I knew if she didn't watch Karissa, she might not see her much. So Karissa spent her first night away from home and away from us. :( We would like to go away for our 5 year anniversary, so we need to start somewhere. Thankfully, Dylan (our nephew), kept her entertained since she has seemed to be going through some separation anxiety lately. And I did okay too....until Saturday morning. I was ready to get her then and couldn't get to my parents' fast enough. She did really well, but has been a little clingy. Can't blame her there. :)

So, I'll let Dave blog about the game because he probably remembers more details that I do, but it was GREAT!!!!! It was even more exciting and thrilling than being at the Home Run Derby (pics are separate for that post)and the last game we went to at the old Yankee Stadium.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Karissa Update

So as promised, here is the update on Karissa. She has been so close to crawling so we knew it would be any day. That little stinker waited until Sunday evening when we were at a wedding and she was home with her Grammy to do it. We missed it!!! Dave's mom was watching her and thought we didn't tell her she was crawling so we had to tell her she wasn't and that if she did, it was her first time. There's a video below of that. She also started "cruising." She walks around the coffee table while holding on to it. She's definitely keeping us busy. We're hopefully going to get to the beach this afternoon since we are running out of days that are warm enough. We've also figured out where we're having her party. We swore we would not be those parents that dropped a ton of money on a party she won't remember. However, if we had it at our house, it would be crowded and lot of preparation/clean up afterwards would be involved so we thought it would be nice to have it somewhere else so that we can just enjoy the day with her. It seems extravagant where we are having it, but it is actually one of the cheapest places around! You'll have to wait and see. ;) Anyway, there's also her 10 month picture below and a video of her reaction to bubbles. We had some bubbles left over from our friends' wedding Sunday and discovered that she loves them. She also loves to dance. I love the little head bob she does. lol As Dave and I say, it's just proof that dancing comes naturally (for those that believe dancing is a sin). We will also be leaving her for the longest amount of time on Saturday. We're taking some teens to a concert festival outside of DC. We will be leaving before 6am and not getting home until well after midnight. That means we'll go from Friday night to Sunday morning without seeing her. I'm very nervous about how she'll be since she doesn't eat well with other people and how I'll be for such a long day. However, we'd really like to go away for our 5 year anniversary next summer so I have to work up to leaving her for a few days and I guess this is a start. :( We'll see how it goes. Have a great end to the week and thanks for reading as I brag about my daughter! lol

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Wednesday!!!!

So it's Wednesday, which means weigh-in day. I know that I keep saying I'm going to get back to posting more regularly and don't. I really am going to try this week. For my weigh-in, I'm up .8lbs. Not happy, but not too upset. I started back running on Monday and plan to go again today. Since it was so long since my last run and I'm not in very good shape, I decided just to start the program at the beginning again. Dave even went with me. I feel so much better now that I am back into getting active again. P.S. Look for another post later this evening or tomorrow about Karissa - she's now crawling.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weigh in Wednesday

Just a quick post. We had a great vacation as you can see from the pics below. Karissa and I were ready to get back home and back into our routine though. Things are getting back to normal and I'm hoping by the end of today I'll have my housework caught up. We also got to go back to our library program. We both missed it so much. It's a lot of fun. Anyway, I didn't weigh in last week because of being gone, but regardless, I am VERY happy with what I saw today. Somehow, while on vacation, I managed to lose 3 pounds in the last 2 weeks! :) I think I needed to see that to get back on track with watching my portions and getting active again. We got so busy and then on vacation we were staying on a fairly busy street that didn't have much of a shoulder that I haven't gone for a run in a long time. I'm eager to get back into it though. Now, I need to make sure I buy and set aside 3 lbs. of canned goods for the Shrink for Good challenge!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Our last stop was at Megan's sister's for a few days. Here are some pictures from there.