Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An enjoyable chore

Summer makes me remember a lot of things…swimming, no school, library books, backpacking trips, girls’ camp and yard work, specifically, weeding the garden. Each year we would plant the garden around Memorial Day and then Padre would assign us specific rows to weed for the duration of the summer.

One year I had the onions among other rows, and when it came time to thin out the onions, I thinned out a little too much (I detest onions). Needless to say, I was never given the onions to weed again. We also grew comfey. What is comfey? Who knows, but we grew it for pig food. I must not have known what it looked like because after my weeding one week, Dad went out to check our weeding and had to take back outside to show me what comfey looked like as I had pulled up 90% of the comfey we planted that year. I loved weeding the raspberries as I got to sit and munch on them as I weeded.

Somehow, Ryan and I have managed to have a garden for 8 of the 9 summers we’ve been married. Some years it’s been a few plants in some pots on a patio and other years, we’ve actually found a small plot of land to garden. This summer is the first summer in our house and we’ve spent many hours preparing the barren soil so that we could harvest tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc in the fall.

This week on my list of things to do was to weed the garden. I was dreading it for several reasons. It has rained just about every day for at least a month so the garden was being taken over weeds. I dragged myself outside, slipped my hands in my crusty work gloves and started pulling the obnoxious weeds. As we finished up, I realized I had actually enjoyed myself. It only took 30 minutes of us both weeding to finish the task. And it was not 30 minutes of misery. We spent the entire time talking about different things, from ideas for future gardens, things we wanted to accomplish this summer, ideas for family get together, work and a myriad of others things I can’t remember. It was nice to be outside away from the TV, phone, computer and just be together.

I’m thinking that weeding the garden is not so bad of a task.

May 2009

July 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sweet Caroline

One of the hardest secrets I have ever had to keep was when we found out that I was pregnant. It was years of medical tests, procedures, pills, money and prayers that got us to that point. We found out I was pregnant the day before we left for a 10 day trip with my madre and sister to go stay with Ryan’s brother and his family. We were going to be surrounded by family - how was I going to keep this secret, let alone keep a secret this big from my madre? I didn’t think it was possible. Several times the words were about ready to come out of my mouth, just ready to tumble out, but somehow I held back each time. To top it off, my sister-in-law just found out she was pregnant as well. Oh how I wanted to tell her.

Even when we were first married we decided that whenever we got pregnant, we would not share the news for a few months, just to make sure everything was okay. Since it took us so long to get pregnant, we knew we weren't going to wait 3 or 4 months for the big announcment. However, we did want to wait until after the next doctors appointment. I’m not sure how my madre didn’t guess something was up. I had a perma-grin on my face, but I didn’t have my usual energy. We had a great idea to go on a 3.5 mile walking tour of Boston. Great idea, except I didn’t count on the nausea hitting me. I wandered about Boston following my madre and sister, trying to hide the nausea. This was their trip too after all and I wanted them to enjoy it and not feel guilty about dragging me around town.

When we got back to California, it was 2 more weeks before I saw the doctor. I had a business trip to Sacramento and then my doctor had jury duty.

It was at that next appointment that our world was shattered. I had miscarried at some point in the previous weeks. To say we were devastated was an understatement.

Fast forward 8 months to the following May, my sister-in-law gave birth to her daughter and I crawled into a cave for a week or two and ignored phone calls and emails. I basically ignored the world. Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy for her. Pregnancy does not come easy for her and I truly was happy at the arrival of their new daughter. But I’ll admit it, I was also jealous. I wanted my baby, my baby that never even had a chance to grow.

2 months later we had a family reunion. The first time I saw sweet Caroline, I got a little teary and found an excuse to leave the room. I kept imagining what my baby would have looked like at that age, what it would have felt like to hold my own baby in my arms.

I never did hold sweet Caroline that trip. I couldn’t bring myself to do it without public meltdown. A family baby shower was planned and I had every intention of attending although I had not been to a baby shower in 7 years. That morning after a restless night of sort-of sleep, I got dressed and tried to make myself go out to the shower. I was in total meltdown mode. Ryan pulled my sister-in-law aside in the bathroom so I could explain in between sobs and gasps for air that I couldn’t attend her shower. I wasn’t strong enough. For whatever reason, it was important to me for her to know that I tried to go, but faltered in the end. Ryan and I snuck out the back door and spent the day away from the house.

This year, sweet Caroline was 14 months old at the family reunion. She was toddling around and smiling and just being lovable. I didn’t hold her until two days before she left. I put her on my lap and just looked into her eyes. And then I talked to her. I told her about my baby that would have been the same age as her, and how sorry I was that I didn’t hold her last year. Not that she’ll ever remember the conversation or remember that I never held her that first year. I’ll probably always feel a connection to her, maybe more than the other nieces, only because she was born the same week my baby would have been.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jacobs Family Reunion complete with scissors and scalpel

We had a fabulous time. The first night we arrived we went to Laguna Hills for the Pageant of the Masters. It is one of my favorite things about So Cal. This one was one of the best ever and we were there on the first night! However, it was a bit chilly this year. I don’t remember it ever being that cold.

Friday we went to the beach. We played and played and ran in the waves. I’m not sure what was up, the shoreline was extremely rocky this year. We always go to the same beach (Bolsa Chica) and it was so rocky that it tore up the bottom of our skim board. It was a little bit painful running and playing in the waves, but we still did and enjoyed it.

Saturday we played in the backyard. We set up two slip n’ slides and had races. The pool has managed to survive 3 summers and we made great splashes jumping in.

Saturday night we set up the badminton net and played a little bit. Then we played volleyball with badminton net. It made for some interesting blocks and spikes, but we definitely enjoyed ourselves and played until after dark. Next year, we need a glow in the dark volleyball or else flood lights for the backyard. Afterwards, we played my new game “Things”. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. Just don’t ask about a doctor running with scissors and a scalpel picking his uvula scabs while saying “How YOU doin’?”

Every year we give out everyone's birthday presents at the reunion. Everyone gets a king-size candy bar. I stole this idea from my aunts which is a whole other post for another day. We've also been making some type of cake for when we hand out the "presents." This year we decided to make a Candyland cake. We actually stole the idea from my brother when he made one for the homecoming competition. We wanted to do something special with Jennette and Rebekah since we're having Tessa and Audrey come visit us so we had them help. We made two cakes and then put them side by side (half lemon half chocolate). We spent more time eating the extra candy than we did actually making the cake but it was really fun and I think the cake turned out well.

It was fun to see my old friends from the ward. It’s almost like we never left, almost. Later that evening we had the annual family picture. It's so hard to get a shot of everyone with open eyes and looking at the camera.

Monday morning, Ryan and I took the 4 Jacobs girls for their special outing. The zoo has always been fun for us. The animals are always out and very active first thing when it opens and it’s not usually crowded. This year was so disappointing. A lot of the animals were not out. Maybe it was the 100+ plus heat. We left and went to eat lunch at Travel Town. The girls had so much fun climbing up and playing around in the trains.

That night we had the first ever extended family reunion with both sides of Ryan’s family. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. We had another riveting game of family volleyball until past dark. Ginny spoiled us with the most amazing cupcakes in the world! We missed those that couldn’t make it. Next year, we will start planning more than 2 weeks in advance.

I went to my old work to see friends and catch up and they had a marvelous pizza lunch set up. Oh how I don’t miss that job, just my friends.

We got tickets to the Hollywood Bowl for Bravo Beethoven. We love going to Hollywood Bowl.

Ryan and I played badminton a couple of mornings until it got too hot. We should probably start before 9am if we don’t want to play in the heat.

We would have made it home in pretty good time if it had not been for one slight problem. All I am going to say about that is…write down where your car is parked in that huge long term parking lot or else somebody will have to drive you around for 30 minutes while you look for your car. Oh wait, Ryan said not to say anything about that incident.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Birthday celebration

I do not look forward to my birthday each year. In fact, I would prefer it not to happen. And it is not just because I'm a year older. Well, it is because I am a year older, but more because I am a year older and still do not have any kiddos. Depressing, I know. I would just prefer for the day to pass without fanfare so that I can pretend I'm not really a 30 something working woman who would prefer to be a stay at home mom surrounded by kids.

This year, my birthday fell during the family reunion in California. Ryan planned this amazing day for me. I was born at 12:29 am and every year of my life since I can remember, I have stayed up until 12:29am on my birthday. It just happens some years even when I want to sleep.

So at 12:29am on July 9th, Ryan pulled out an envelope and said happy birthday. I opened the envelope and there was 2 tickets to my favorite show "Wicked" which is coming to Denver this fall. I was elated!

The next morning we left the house for an all day adventure. We went to breakfast and if it were up to me, we would eat breakfast food every day for dinner. That's how much I love breakfast food.

Then we headed down to Long Beach for a trip to the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific. There is a free shuttle that runs between the two so it was super convenient. We zipped on over to the Queen Mary first.

Absolutely fantastic! This is now on my list of Top 5 Things I've done in So. Cal. I loved it. It was huge and you can wander around just about anywhere on the ship. We spent hours exploring around all the different levels and areas. It was rare that so little was roped off. Take Hearst Castle for instance, you have to stay on the carpet pathway and don't really get to explore at all. Fabulous castle, but very controlled. This was the complete opposite. We just roamed around for far longer than we anticipated. We spent about 4 hours there.
We also took a tour of the Russian Submarine next door called the Scorpion. That was fun crawling through that. I'm not sure if I could have lived for months on end in such an enclosed space.

We headed back to the Aquarium for the remainder of the afternoon. We had read that the best time to go was on weekday afternoons after all the daycare, summer camp and school groups leave. After wandering around a little bit, seeing the feeding of the sharks, we were starting to get hungry.

We were planning on eating at Chili's and there happened to be one just around the corner right on the water. We walked over and had a fabulous late lunch/early dinner. The best part was the dinner was free. We used a gift card that we got for referring a friend to this realtor. (Thanks for buying a house William and Kelsha!) We had a leisurely lunch looking out at the water and lighthouse.

We headed back to the Aquarium. It had emptied out quite a bit so it was much easier to see sights. I love the Jellyfish.
I am just amazed at how they move and live. I also like the weird seahorse things. I'm not sure the official scientific name, but aren't they different?

We stayed until closing and then headed for a walk to the lighthouse. From the lighthouse we had a good view of the Queen Mary docked across the bay.

We also discovered we had a perfect view of the hotel we stayed at during our honeymoon. It was right on the water and we only stayed the night before we went to Catalina Island. Apparently it has changed names several times, but it is still right there on the waterfront. Oh, that was a nice nice, nice hotel.

But the night was not over yet. We headed home by way of Claim Jumpers for a piece of cheesecake. I love the White Chocolate Chip Raspberry Cream Cheesecake. Besides, anything with that long of a name has to be good right? We also brought home the game "Things", my birthday gift from Ryan's parents. I love that game!

Next stop was Jamba Juice where we slurped our favorite smoothies. By the time we made it home, we were exhausted and our bellies were full of yummy things.

And I only got teary once in the morning as we talked about how maybe next year we will have a kiddo or two with us.

Monday, July 13, 2009

out of the office

I thought I'd try to post while at the Family Reunion, vacation, trip, etc, but issues abound with internet being available during normal hours. So it might just be when we get back that this thing gets updated:)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Celtic Woman and the downpour

I have been reading the House of Seven Gables the past few weeks on my lunch break at work. Ryan, Mom, Erin and I went and saw the actual house when we were back east in 2007. I finally finished the book this week. I didn't like it at all. I felt like nothing happened. All this talk, blah, blah, blah. I loved the Scarlet Letter and I cannot believe that this book is by the same author. I watched the BBC miniseries of Middlemarch this weekend while mending, sewing, cleaning, etc. I really enjoyed it and I am thinking of starting the book now.

The House of Seven Gables in Salem, MA - Sept 2007

Since Ryan had to work on the 4th, I volunteered to work as well. So I took Thursday off. It was fabulous! I normally leave at noon on Wednesday so we had 1 and 1/2 days off together. I had almost forgotten what it was like to have the same day off.

For my birthday Ryan got me tickets to Celtic Woman which was playing at Red Rocks Amphitheater on July 1st.

First we parked and then walked 1/4 mile. Then we had millions of stairs to climb to actually reach the amphitheatre. Then after we climbed those stairs, we had another million stairs to climb to actually get to our seats. There were tons of people off to the side trying to catch their breath at an elevation of 6,340 feet. I refused to give in and look weak so we kept on climbing those stairs. It was quite the workout. This venue is not for the faint of heart. The concert was perfect. It kept threatening rain, but we just had lighting and thunder. It was such a pretty view. We could see the city lights in the distance. I love the outdoor amphitheaters. It didn't start raining until the last 5 minutes and then it poured. Needless to say by the time we reached the car we were soaking. Which we were the last ones in the parking lot. First, we didn't pay attention that there was an Upper North parking lot and a Lower North parking lot. So as we were leaving, we just followed the masses to the North parking lot. We wandered around for 10-15 minutes in the pouring rain looking for the car. Finally we looked at a map. Lo and behold, we figured out we were in the wrong parking lot. So we hiked back to 10 minutes to the amphitheater to take the trail to the right parking lot. 15 minutes later we arrived at the car. We both were drenched and we had been walking around in the rain for 45 minutes, but we were laughing by the end of it.

Then the freeway was shut down to 1 lane for construction that wasn't happening due to the pouring rain. We got home about 1 1/2 hours after I thought we would. Good thing I took the next day off work.

We slept in the next morning and then we went to see the movie "Up". Most of you know that I'm not usually a fan of animated movies. I wasn't really expecting much from this movie but I quite enjoyed it and I highly recommend it.

There were tons of fireworks on the 4th after we got off work at 9pm. We saw them all over the city. It must not be illegal to set off airborne fireworks because they were going off all night long all over the city. It was still raining a little bit and it smelled so good outside. I love the smell of rain plus the smell of fireworks. It was refreshing and a bit hazy from the humidity combined with firework smog.