Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bad Blogger

I have abandoned the blog for 2 weeks. Not a good thing. As a result, you might want to grab a small meal, and beverage for this is going to be a LONG one.

The holidays were BUSY for Scott and me. All of a sudden I was back at work and Christmas was always seems to go too quickly.

Before flying to St. Louis on Sunday, I demanded one last trip over to the Strand Fam's house. As you all know, I try to see them as often as possible!
After a walk and trip to Pier 1, Scott and Kayla caught up on a little reading!

Sunday, we were off to St. Louis at the early hour of 6:30am. I just love flying on frequent flyer miles...always the best flight times.

It was all worth it when I walked in the Christmas Wonderland that is my house. I mentioned the decorations so I thought I would share a few with you (this does not even scratch the surface):
The stairs/backyard
Just in case you didn't notice, she decorated the lawn furniture!
Living room. Note the little Christmas trees and Christmas frames (that are there to replace the standard Jan-Nov frames...oh, wait, there are also Halloween, and Easter frames in their respective months).
The Christmas tree in my room. Note: greenery on top of the window...pretty much every window or picture has a nice little green topper!
Book case in the living room.

You get the idea...It is pretty special and really amazing!

In no time we were unpacked and settled in for a week of craziness. An unexpected first stop...The Awakening. This sculpture was just put in near my house. A little creepy at first but upon further inspection is actually really interesting and a definite conversation starter.
Scott checking for cavities.

There was also a nice one of Scott smelling his foot but I forgot to upload it :(

While there wasn't much spare time while we were in town, we found ways to occupy ourselves...

Family blood pressure readings! Official results, Scott is stressed, my mom is freakishly UNstressed, and Dad and I land somewhere in between!
To keep things really interesting my dad cooked a meal. I am pretty sure this goes down as the second meal my dad has ever cooked since I have been aware (and it is always the same meal). This particular recipe comes from at 1978 edition of Playboy (Farrah Fawcett is on the cover)...clearly my dad just subscribed for the recipes! HA!
Dad and his smock? He rejected the apron in favor of this fancy number!

The next night Bobbi, Doug and the girls came over for our annual Christmas Eve Eve dinner and game night.
Jordan with my mom's candy cane themed table.
Lauren and Jordan sporting their fancy new robes in front of the tree.
Scene It! Scott killed us all in the 80s version.

Before we knew it, Christmas Eve was upon us! Off to Toni's we went.
Scott carving the turkey...I think this is officially his permanent job.
Derek cutting the prime rib and me doing my best to avoid being asked to fill the water glasses!
Erin Eilene got stuck with the job this year. She even got to wear Toni's coat with a more than fancy hood!

After eating, drinking, and more game playing we headed to await Santa's arrival!

Good news, no one was on the naughty list and we all got presents!
Belle and me awaiting the opening frenzy
WHOA! Pretty impressive gift. A stocking! But, he didn't have one and in my opinion that is not ok!
Dado with his new scotch glasses.
Ornament for mom
Apparently I was extra good...I got a new iPod! Perfect for my New Year's resolution to start working out again!

The fun didn't stop on Christmas. The next night we headed over to the Reppy's for a visit with Allie, Justin and Eli.
Eli and Maddie waiting by the door for visitors
I thought about stealing him and bringing him back to California...

It was so great spending time with them and I really wish we lived 20 minutes away all the time! Maybe some day!

In an effort to make sure we never stopped during our 8 day trip, Scott and I headed down to the brewery on Sunday.
We started out by going to beer school. I am not really sure how much I actually learned but we got to try four kinds of beer!

Then it was off on a tour. Note to all those considering a brewery tour in December in St. Louis...wait until spring! Walking around outside in 25 degree weather leaves something to be desired.

Each one of these casks holds 200,000 six packs. If you started now and drank a beer an hour it would take 122 years to finish one of these tanks.
Scott made it to two!

Monday morning brought another 6am flight. We arrived back in San Francisco groggy but happy to be home. Our little black dog was also pretty happy to see us.

Hope you enjoyed the holiday recap. I'll try to be a better blogger in the new year!

*ps-excuse any typos, I didn't feel like proofreading :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I think I have to officially admit I like to pretend that all holidays are as much fun but I think Christmas has to be #1. Maybe fun is the wrong word. This holiday holds so many traditions and feelings that it is impossible to beat. It is the one time of year that has never changed and I can always look forward to.

This year we are headed to the midwest for 8 days!! Ah, frequent flyer blackouts. Truthfully though, it will be pretty nice to be back in St. Louis without every waking moment planned out. Scott is even planning on taking a ride up the arch (I took one too many field trips here and will be skipping the ride!). We will miss our little Lola like CRAZY! Luckily her cousin Michelle is going to be here to give her all the snuggling she needs. But, I will get to spend some quality time with the other dog in my life...Belle. I got Belle when I was a junior in high school and proceeded to leave her with my parents when I left for school. I don't think I get to stake claim to her as "mine" any more, but she is a pretty great little white fluff.

Back to why I love Christmas.
  1. Our house. My mom should win an award for decorating. She does an incredible job every year of transforming the house into Christmas perfection. Pretty much everything comes down and the Christmas stuff goes up. I can't imagine a Christmas without it. (I'll post pictures when we get there)
  2. The smells. The smell of a real Christmas tree you just can't beat. But if you need to, Yankee Candle Company's Christmas Wreath is a great backup. We traded in the real tree for a fake a long time ago in St. Louis but somehow my mom manages to make the house smell perfectly festive!
  3. The music. I am why radio stations start playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. It is the best! How can you be in a bad mood when you turn on the radio and Jingle Bells is playing? It just brings a smile. For the record, my favorite Christmas album is Nat King Cole. Just buy it.
  4. Family. I don't get back to St. Louis for all the family functions that I used to and it is wonderful to get to spend so much time with my parents and my extended family. Christmas Eve is spent with the Smith family (mom's side) and Christmas day is with the Koon's (dad's side). It has been this way for as long as I can remember and I can't imagine someone changing this routine on me. I might need therapy!
  5. Everything else disappears. There is something about Christmas that makes the "real" world just disappear. Bills, groceries, work and any kind of responsibility just disappears for a bit. It is like having a blizzard and being snowed in with all of the people you love.
Ok, clearly I could go on forever but it is just the feeling that the holidays bring that I love and look forward to every year. This year life has been too hectic since Thanksgiving to get our house decorated :(. I regret it but at least I don't have to take it all down...right?

Note on thing I didn't say I Apparently I was born without the shopping gene. In this instance I am talking about the fighting for parking spots and waiting in lines that wrap around stores but to be honest I am not a fan in general! I am online retailers and much better!

I will be blogging from St. Louis so stay tuned. Sorry for the lack of exciting news but I promise the holidays will bring lots of fun!

I'm still here!

Apparently working full time leaves a bit less time for blogging. That and 4 holiday events within 6 days. And my final excuse...when I have spare time I enjoy spending it with Scott instead of having a computer in my lap! I think he misses the blog too though...

All that aside...I am here and I have survived seven days of real work! So far, so good. I am really enjoying being back in the working world although it is definitely an adjustment. I find myself telling stories about Kayla and Tanner on a regular basis and wondering what they are up to. Maybe I will put pictures of them on my desk just to really confuse my new colleagues!

But seriously, I really am loving my new job, office, and co-workers. Advertising is definitely a different beast than PR but I am really enjoying learning all of the new processes and "lingo". Although I was an ad major, it is very different being in the day to day as opposed to reading about it. Then again, if I started a new job in PR there would still probably be a new learning curve. Different places, different ways of doing things.

So, I mentioned 4 holiday events:
Saturday (the 6th)-Scott work party #1
Tuesday-Scott work party #2
Thursday-My work party
Friday-Christmas celebration with the Strand fam

This led to doing absolutely NOTHING this past weekend. I have no updates...we holed up in the house and enjoyed the rainy weekend watching movies and just relaxing. I know, great update after my absence. Don't right away to hopefully make up for it.

But, there is one picture to share!
We had a little trouble getting a good one! We had a lot of laughs and fun at all of our events and I think this captures it!

One last note. I looked back to my first blog post. December 9, 2008. I have been blogging for over a year! Fun looking back on last holiday season and the last time I worked!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Out with the diapers...

...and in with a desk. As of tomorrow I am officially rejoining the working world. Well, the "corporate" world anyway. While I fail to characterize my time as a nanny as "work" it should probably be put in that category. Child care is no walk in the park, but the upside is so rewarding it is easy to forget that you are "working".

So far the idea that tomorrow morning I will wake up, shower, do my hair, put on work clothes and head to an office still hasn't really become something I believe. It feels like I will hit the snooze four times, throw on some jeans or sweats and head over to see my favorite two under two. It is going to be a serious reality check driving downtown and having someone greet me with a handshake instead of, "MIIIIINE!".

What a change. I think it is bittersweet at this point. I am going to miss my daily routine with Chrissie and the little ones and my free afternoons. On the flip side, it will be great to actually be using my degree again and having a paycheck that reflects that. I am also anxious to meet some new people and challenge myself on a daily basis to earn that paycheck.

I need to take a moment to say a HUGE thank you to Scott. He has been my support system in so many ways over the past year. Picking up my life and moving to San Francisco from Boulder has brought a lot of changes and I know I wouldn't have made it through without him. I am so fortunate to have him beside me as I take this next step. Scott, I love you and thank you.

So, what is this job I am going to be starting? I am going to work in advertising! For the past four years I worked in PR but actually graduated with a degree in Advertising. I am anxious to dive into this new world at Engine Company 1. The office is located in downtown San Francisco and has a staff of around 30 residing in an awesome office space. PERFECT! I really wasn't interesting in joining a huge team and this seems to be right up my alley. A huge thank you to Cindy for the introduction!!

Once I get settled in I will take some pictures of the office to share with you.

Well, time to pack my "back to work" bag and lay out my first day of work outfit (yes, I am a dork, but it is one less thing to be anxious about). Wish me luck!

Ok, one final thank you. Thank you to the entire Strand family for employing me for the past eight months and letting me be a part of your lives. I can't tell you how much I value the time that I got to spend watching the kids grow and being a part of that. I will miss our daily time together but can guarantee you I will insert myself in your life more than you care to see me! Be sure to send me lots of pictures and updates on what you all are up to and say Happy Birthday to baby Hassani for me on Tuesday ;-).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Finishing Up

I ran out of steam the other night working on the blog. I still have one last activity from the holiday weekend to update you on!

Stanford v. Notre Dame

I went ahead and put the red back on (you might recognize the outfit) and we headed down to another tailgate/game. We were crashing yet another another Hyland family activity but they were more than welcoming and we had a great time.

I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a Hyland get together without some kind of competition (or so I am learning). Almost immediately we were signed up for a bean bag toss tournament (aka-corn hole).
I am pretty sure this is when I knocked Scott and Todd out of the competition!
Todd and my partner for the afternoon, Rick.
Scott trying desperately to be as good at this game as me ;-)
Tommy taking his turn.
Me, after missing LOTS of opportunities to score in the semi finals.

It all ended there. The semifinals. The team we played went on to win though so I guess we can't be too disappointed.

Well, off to Target. Time to clean up all the turkeys and pull out the Christmas decorations!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

After our rousing win, it was time to get ready for Thanksgiving. This year, Scott and I hosted 21 people in our not so big house! That said, it was perfect and I wouldn't have changed a thing. I figure we had the two most important and food! Well that and lots of turkeys (to eat and to decorate with). As I mentioned in my birthday post, I was born on Thanksgiving. This has led to 26 years of my mom collecting turkeys for me. This year, they all made their way to San Francisco to decorate our house for the big day. I will spare you pictures of ALL of them, but here is a peak:
Table #1 (the bread basket in the middle is a turkey)
The Thanksgiving tree (oh, yes, there is such a thing)
End table with a little turkey buddy and some turkey coasters!

I will summarize Thanksgiving by saying it was a gorgeous day with a lot of organized chaos that ended with a tremendous meal. Scott cooked his first turkey (I bowed out knowing I didn't want to be responsible if the turkey didn't turn out) and made homemade gravy which were both spectacular. I was in charge of potatoes, french onion dip, cheesecake and day of logistics (furniture moving, decorating, cleaning, etc...). We could not have done it without the help of the entire Retchless clan and were definitely thankful to have them all here. On to pictures...
Beth chased down a neighbor on the street to take a family photo.
Lola and her cousin Michelle
Scott and Sean working in the kitchen.
Scott's mom (aka Granmere) and her Grandkids minus Tess and Nolan (we missed you all!).
The Retchless ladies...clockwise-me, Stacia, Renee, Beth and Charlene
Thumbs up...we did it!
Scott too!
Now this is an effective use of space!

Many more pictures but that gives you an idea of our fun filled Thanksgiving!

Day Before Tomorrow Golf

Wednesday the holiday festivities began. Well, at least for the Hyland family! Tommy invited Scott and me to join his family in their annual golf tournament.

We joined 20 fellow golfers for a little par 3, 9 hole. I say little, but that is plenty of golf for me! I was spent by the end (plus, it is REALLY hilly and a not so easy course).

Tommy represented the Hyland's on our team as the rest of us were crashing the family event! Cru, Todd, Scott and me rounded out our fivesome. My accomplishment for the day was definitely just making contact with the ball and if it went in the right direction or even remotely far that was a bonus! I wouldn't say I was terrible, but I did bring in the looooooooowest score on the team. Lucky for us that didn't matter and we were crowned the WINNERS!
Yes, mine has all of the 6s on it.
The winning team!
Tommy accepting the cup.
Victory drink
On to Cru...
and Todd...
and me!

Thanks to the Hylands for a great day on the course!