Oh, 28…

Tomorrow I will be 29, which I’m not very happy about. I don’t feel 29. I certainly don’t think I act 29. So how is it possible that I’m 29? I just don’t get it.

In an attempt to be more cheerful about it, I’ve looked through my pictures over the last year to see what I’ve accomplished. It hasn’t been that bad of a year. And at the same time, it was the hardest year of my life. I live a paradox.

What I did in my 28th year:

1) Celebrated turning 28. Chris turned our garage into a ghetto birthday room where our friends and family enjoyed food and drinks and some old school Nintendo.

2. Left my amazing job of 3 years to move on to my very own classroom. I will always be a Woodmanite at heart, though. I’ve gone back about 3 times this last year just to eat lunch with everyone like old times.
3. One of my best friends, Jenna, got married. This is not Jenna. This is the giant teddy bear that sat at our table with us.
4. I started my first year of teaching. This is what I looked like the first day. Too tired to even change out of my school clothes. This teaching year was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I totally did it.
5. Oh, yes. This year I learned how to make bomb salads.

6. Saw Les Miserables. It fully rocked.

7. We got real adult furniture finally. I can say now that our house is actually furnished with new items, not our college items.

8. I spent many a night at my desk looking at this kind of scenario: a lesson plan on the right, and a good episode of How I Met Your Mother on the left.

9. My team won the coveted gold at the school Olympics. Take that first year!

10. We started drinking green smoothies.

11. We vacationed in Santa Barbara for a week. Took the train up and walked everywhere. It was delightful.

12. Snuggled with this guy. Repeatedly.

13. Tried to love running. It did not work.

14. Started Project Life.

15. Got my wisdom teeth out. This event is represented by Jack, who stayed with me during my bed rest and caught up with Once Upon a Time with me.

16. Attended my good friend Jeremy’s wedding. Sorry, Jer, I was too far away to get good pics of you. But here’s a cute one of me and Chris! (Did I mention this was two days post-wisdom teeth?)

17. Celebrated every half day like it was Christmas break.

18. Went kayaking with Chris for the first time.

19. Stayed home by myself for an entire week while Chris was gone at a conference. (I’m such a big girl/I hated the whole week.)

20. Actually grew things this year, to the point that we could actually harvest and eat them. Huzzah!

21. Saw West Side Story with the T family at the Pantages.

22. Welcomed a new baby Cowen…

23. … and a new baby Holz.

24. Said good-bye to my first class of students.

25. Went to New York!

26. Saw Newsies…

27. … and Matilda

So… yeah. All in all, a pretty packed year. Didn’t realize I’d seen four musicals this year! And we had two vacations! And this summary of events really makes it look like I didn’t spend almost every waking moment prepping for school. Retrospect, huh?

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It’s my birthday!

In case you don’t know me personally, this is how I feel about August 8:

Yep, that’s how it goes. Midnight to midnight.

Today’s festivities included going to work and getting balloons, a lovely plant that Michelle swears is impossible to kill (going in my new classroom!), and getting a homemade farewell cake from several of my students.

Then I came home and refused to do any work. No photo editing. No lesson planning. I surfed the internet. I read some blogs on google reader. I looked up cool ideas I haven’t had time for lately.

Then Sonia came and picked me up for a little teacher shopping (she was shopping for Paul). After a trip to Staples, Target, Joann’s, and Target again, I came out ahead with a full supply of green binders for each of my units, an awesome stapler, and dry erase markers and crayons (thanks to my roomie Sonia who grabbed them for me as a birthday gift). We went out for frozen yogurt and sat out in the car talking for awhile, and I just freaking love that girl. : ) It’s so great having good girl friendships.

When I came back home, I found a lovely card from my husband! It was full of loving loveliness just for me. Thank you, Chris, I love you too!

And now here we are, nine minutes till August 9th. I’m officially 28. It’s already proving to be an intense, nerve-wracking, exciting and scary, crazy fun and crazy stressful year. Am I ready for it? Sometimes I think I am, and sometimes I think I’m going nuts with the pressure. Luckily I have a wonderful husband who thinks I’m going to have an awesome year, and delightful friends who encourage and support me daily.

So here’s to the 29th year of my existence. (This is me clinking my peach champagne at the screen.) Cheers!

January the seventh (the one with Sonia’s birthday)

Saturday day night we went out to Jamul for an ice cream social to celebrate my very first ever roommate’s birthday. Woo-hoo!

I’m not going to lie, making that drive up Skyline had me missing the old camp days. It didn’t matter that it’s been five summers since I worked there; driving up that hill felt just like driving up every Sunday afternoon with my truck filled with fresh clothes and snacks. As I told Chris when we got to to the top of the hill, and looked down over the misty valley, God lives in Jamul. It’s true.

We had a splendid time hanging out with Sonia and Paul, Jeremy and his girlfriend Sarah, Jared and his adorable daughter (who calls Sonia Mo-Geek, for Monique), and Krista and Jon. Settlers of Catan was the game of the night, but we had to play in teams since there were more than six of us. I’m not going to lie- I was a little concerned how Chris and I would handle both trying to control our team’s strategies and moves. We are both way too competitive for our own good. Surprisingly, our strategies matched almost the entire game, and we ended up blowing everyone else out of the (Catan) water. Go, team, go!

And since this post is about Sonia’s birthday, and not our awesome teamwork skills, here’s some Sonia-centric posts I dug up from years past:

Adventures with my Roomie
Adventuresome Times
Last Night at B22
This is what…

Hmm. Half of these posts have the word adventure in them. I think that may say something about Sonia’s personality….

The Big 2-8

Not for me, though! I’m staying 27 for awhile. But Chris hit the 2-8 mark a couple of weeks ago. We celebrated with a impromptu surprise party (thanks Ry and Jesse for making it over for impromptu red velvet cake!), Chris’ favorite beer (which I had to hide behind Costco-sized bags of spinach and carrots in the fridge), Mexican-style appetizers, and fun conversation. Good times. The next day we went to Redlands to celebrate Chris’ birthday, as well as his dad’s and grandpa’s, which are all within two weeks of each other. I won’t promise those pictures will be up anytime soon (I’ve learned my lesson with picture promises), but hopefully over the upcoming Thanksgiving break I’ll have some free time to sort and organize and upload some photos.

Happy birthday, babe! I love your 28-year-old hotness!

An Overdue Family Birthday Dinner Post

Chris’ family came down in late August to celebrate my birthday with us, and my family came over, too, for a barbecue. Chris made his famous turkey burgers with special sauce, we had pumpkin pie (my favorite special dessert), I got to try out my first ever set of trick candles (those things do not go out!), and Jack and Sawyer had a ball playing with the leftover tissue paper and birthday bags. Good party!

Birthday Time.

So I turned 27 a few days ago. And since I’ve been a terrible picture taker of my own life lately, I threw Old Faithful (a.k.a. my first Canon digital point and shoot) into my purse to document the day. (More on that first picture later.)
First up: the morning shot. This is how our mornings look. Chris or I let the cats into our room sometime after we wake up, and they run in and cuddle with us and try to get into the sink because they’re weird little water babies like that. At some point of every morning, I look over and Chris is on the floor cuddling them. I know, awwwww. 🙂
(Please excuse our unmade bed.)

August 8 was a Monday, so we Woodmanites kicked the week off right by ditching our classroom and going to BJ’s! We had the whole outside to ourselves, which was great because the outside is awesome.

This picture reminds me that I still haven’t posted the photos from our rehearsal dinner last year, which was held in this same awesome outdoor area.

My co-worker friends know what I like. Alya, as she slapped this down on the table for me: “Drinks are on me this week.” Love it! (And I’ve already used half the card.)

Phuong always likes to do flowers for special events, so I got this beautiful bouquet to bring home with me!

The kittens weren’t so sure about it. Or at least, not sure why I set it on the floor to take pictures of it.

Jack says: “These flowers pain me, as they are blocking the way to my food dish.”

One of my favorite presents? This awesome camera strap Melody Holz made me! I have coveted a cute patterned camera strap for so long! And look! It’s in our wedding colors!

Sometime after my hot photographer husband came home from work, I said, “Hot photographer husband, how about taking some 27th birthday pictures of me out on this here porch?” And he said sure. Then he led me far away from our porch, down the street, and into a little grassy area in the Elk’s Lodge parking lot. (And we left the front door unlocked while we were gone! Sorry, Paul B.!)

Sometimes it really pays to have a hot photographer husband. If you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend it.

Sidenote: Why doesn’t my hair always look like this?! See how both sides are flipping in? This is not what normally happens. 

This was a timer shot. Chris is giving me the “why did you just throw yourself onto the ground look?” and I’m giving the “these jeans are so tight, it’s hard to sit like a lady” look.

That night, after homework and photo editing, we went down the street to Outback Steakhouse for dessert. And there we had what is going on my list of favorite desserts ever: the Sidney Sinful Sundae. I’m not even going to describe it. But it was so good (and so huge) that when I found I could only eat half of it, I was incredibly sad. So sad, in fact, that I totally boxed up ice cream, brought it home, and ate it after work the next day.

And it was just as good then.

Weekend in Redlands

We traveled back to Chris’ homeland this weekend. Our main reason for going was for Sarah’s birthday celebration. Our secondary reason was to get our taxes done by the most amazing tax guy ever, according to Chris’ parents and Kris and Becky Cowen. They were all correct, as Mr. Most Amazing Tax Guy Ever scored us the biggest tax refund either of us has ever seen (or expected). Getting married and buying a house did us good this tax year. I won’t reveal our big number, but let’s just say we’ll be able to pay off my car, get Chris new tires for his, buy a new camera lens (105 macro, holler!), and still have quite a bit left over.

We are happy campers this Sunday evening.

Chris is currently in the office purchasing our website domain, which means we are getting ever closer to being able to reveal our photography name and send people to our website! He’s also trying to figure out Quickbooks, since we’ll be needing to keep track of a whole lot of stuff now. Mr. Tax Guy gave us some good tips on what to track (pretty much anything and everything), so we are taking this very seriously. (We have a number to beat come next tax season, after all.)

I’m sprawled on the bed, watching How I Met Your Mother (Season 2, Disc 3), finishing up my lesson plans, and gathering the things I need to print tomorrow morning. Another week, another Monday. Another plan for a new chapter. We’ll see if this one works any more than the other plans did. I try not to discourage myself, and as I told Chris yesterday, I have to constantly remind myself that if I wasn’t doing the class, the kids would be doing it on their own and failing everything, so at least they’re doing better than they would be. Even if it is taking a long time to get them motivated enough to work.

While we were up in Redlands/Yucaipa, we took the D90 to get pictures of Sarah’s celebration. And since I’m so incredibly on top of things tonight, I’ve already got them downloaded to my laptop and ready to show the world.

(Farah is Sarah’s code name, for when Chris and Sarah make up hypothetical stories about themselves, most of which involve an argument of some sort that they are trying to win people over to. I think the first one ever had to do with parsley vs. cilantro as the go-to herb or choice.)

This cat is the queen.

We’re laughing, because we just knocked our heads together getting in close for the photo.

This time I’m laughing because Sarah packed as many things as she possibly could into that purse, including all her other gifts and a pillow.

I just like his shoes. 🙂

Oh my gosh, I freaking love our new camera, especially for birthday candle pictures!

Chris teaches his parents the ways of the iphone.

Also? We got our daylight back this weekend! Woot!

Ryan’s B-Day

Since Ryan’s Lost birthday last year was such a hit, Chris and I were hemming and hawing over what to do this year. We discovered that it’s not a smart move to pull out all the stops early on, because anything you do henceforth will just be lame.
So Sarah came through with the win this year. She discovered that some singer Ryan loves happened to be playing a small concert at Angel’s stadium before a game. And it turns out that, lucky enough for us, Ryan had been having an inkling to go to a baseball game.
Love it when things like that work out.
Our first picture is of our lunch- Sarah convinced us to go vegetarian for the day, and, no, that is not real chicken. But it was good faux chicken. And apparently good for us to boot. The chili however was lacking. No healthy chili for me!
Two TGO’s, lunching it veggie style.
And off to Angel’s stadium! To pose in front of Mickey!
Pretty quiet game. Nothing happened till around the eighth inning.
We were far more into taking pictures and egging on the beach ball that kept making its way onto the field. Oh! And we cheered so loud when the wave went around the stadium three times!