Friday, December 30, 2011

12 Days of Christmas - Part 2:Virginia

Our Virginia trip began after Christmas since Jared was on call for the holiday. Thankfully, my family was waiting until we arrived on the 27th for our gift exchange so I wouldn't miss Christmas! Instead of Mom only planning one event, she had Christmas dinner on the 25th as well so family members that had work during the week would still be able to celebrate. The plans were going well... that was until the early morning hours of the 26th when 4 members of the family got sick with what we thought at the time was food poisoning. I get a text from my sister describing how ill so many people were. Possibly the first time I was glad not to be home.

So this changed our trip completely. We had plane tickets this year, flying from Cleveland to BWI and we took our first train ride together to Union Station and I wore a silly engineer hat...
Instead of arriving to presents wrapped, brunch and celebration, everyone was drained and still not feeling well. Bummer. And they weren't sure which food made them sick. Was it the ham? Whatever it was, we couldn't trust one thing to eat in the house. UGH!! So we just hung out and caught up a bit with the family and had a late dinner out just the two of us at BoneFish using a fantabulous gift card from my in-laws.

The next day we heard of more people being sick. Grandma and Uncle Connie the day we arrived and on Wednesday Uncle Robert. Sickness was rolling through the family... our "Christmas" moved to Thursday the 29th, and we hoped that would work out and not to catch what was obviously not food poisoning.

So Wednesday we stayed out of the house and caught up with some friends. After a always too short visit with the Milans for lunch we did some shopping at Tysons. I love that mall! And the sales were great!  We topped of the night with happy hour with Laura, and dinner with Daniel & Lauren.
Thursday it was finally Christmas!
And I got photos of everyone except Great Grandma Connie! That stubborn lady just has to be in the right mood to snap her picture. So annoying but what can you do? She is 94!

On Friday we had part 2 of our Virginia Christmas. This time with Jared's sister's family. That is after I went a little crazy and changed my hair color to red... not so sure I like it.
I just love seeing these kiddos open presents. Makes me so excited every time. We were supposed to meet up with them again the next morning for a movie date. That is until I woke up at 5am sick. I had caught the bug. Whatever was lingering around the house finally caught up with me and I was sick the whole day....  New Year's Eve.

Luckily by around 11pm I was feeling much better. I actually could get up and shower. I made it upstairs just in time for the ball drop and to visit with the family while they enjoyed their Chinese food and champagne.

And just like that, it was time to leave. It was a new year, and we were leaving Virginia in what seemed like such a fast trip with not enough time to do what I wanted. With entirely too much icky sickness all around.

12 Days of Christmas - Part 1:Ohio

Well, a few more than 12. In reality we have been celebrating Christmas since the 16th. I just can't help it, I love holidays. We had 4 Christmases this year, one just the two of us, one with J's extended family in Ohio, and two in Virginia.

After all the work and friend parties it was time to celebrate with family. Nonni's birthday was on the 23rd and we headed out to dinner out with the Stanley family. Here is Nonni on her 86th birthday with two of her grandsons, Jared and his cousin Troy.
The next night was Christmas Eve and I was baking! I made tons of iced "Santa" cookies and Mexican wedding cakes. Even some to bring home on the plane to Virginia.
These were only half of what I wanted to make but there was just not enough time for spritz this year. I also cranked out some deviled eggs for our contribution to dinner that night. (Thanks to Gma B for her recipe!) We had a lovely time at J's Uncle's parents house for Christmas Eve dinner and finished the night off with some Christmas Ale, of course and holiday movies.

Christmas morning we had a FaceTime date with my family in Virginia and watched our littlest niece and nephew open presents. 
Then we had our Christmas, just the two of us. Somehow Jared had found the photo of the cowboy boots I liked and I was able, with the help of Coach JP, to get him a real Nebraska helmet and a rubber watch band for his breightling watch.  

I was shocked. I had no idea Jared even knew I wanted them or that they were strategically placed on my Pinterest page wish list. Love, love, love them! Almost as much as J liked his gifts, can't you tell? Look at that smile!
We had Christmas brunch at J's Aunt and Uncles house with fantastic eggs Benedict, mimosas, chocolate filled Ebelskivers, presents, and most importantly family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


We had a surprise delivery today. An entire basket of goodies for Christmas from the Plastic Surgery office. And coincidentally, it is New Orleans themed. How did they know we would be heading to NOLA for the Sugar Bowl in just a week?
We enjoyed the delicious wine, cheese, and crackers with our salmon dinner that Jared had prepared. 
It was such a fun and unexpectedly nice night. Perhaps also because I was delirious from working at 3am for the last three nights! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Partying

Last weekend was full of catching up with old friends and celebrating the holidays. On Friday, I was in the "holiday spirit" early since my work party started at the bar at 11am! After a quick nap, trip to the office with J for some last minute work, we met Aashi and Eric for pizza and (more!) Christmas Ale at Dewey's. Saturday night we made a trip to Warren Ohio for a Christmas party at Bob & Holly's.
Jared and I caught up with old friends from LECOM and partied late into the night. 
I just love Christmas time!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

You've Got Mail

I love getting mail. Regular mail, email, voicemail, any type of mail. Not sure why but I love it. This time of year I am extra excited with all the holiday cards and presents that make their way to our home. We are so blessed with wonderful friends and family that share their latest photos and news from the past year. Here is our little Christmas card for 2011, our 4th Christmas in Cleveland. 
  Feliz Navidad!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Droid Pics

This week past quickly with me working a few night shifts and getting back into the swing of things after our 4 day multi-state trip. For some reason I didn't have my camera with me all week, only Droid photos which are not very good unfortunately. On Wednesday, I finally finished decorating our large family room Christmas tree.
Oh, I just love Christmas! Now to decorate tree #2 & tree #3! Jared set up our "Santa on a Rocket" inflatable that was given to me as a gift from my most favorite in-laws. I just love coming home and seeing it through the trees on our little porch every evening!
On Thursday we had dinner with friends we made when J was in med school, Bob & Holly. The days just go by too quickly. They live only an hour away and the last time we saw them was 4 years ago! We found out that we have the same favorite restaurant, about midway from each of our houses. It was great to catch up and we will be getting together more often! I didn't snap a pic while at dinner but did get this one of the huge tree in the town square...
Friday night is pizza night and we headed to Dewey's in the flurry little snow globe the night had become. I was full of the holiday spirit... and some Christmas Ale!  While we did some shopping  J got stopped by some girls on a scavenger hunt who needed someone in a red jacket. I tried to tell them he was wearing maroon... 
And we even saw Christmas carolers...
The weekend was topped of with an impromptu dinner party at our friend Mary's house and a sighting of these little fellas...
December is going by too fast. Not enough time to soak it all in and apparently I need my camera attached to my hip!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Eye Twitch

Apparently I am stressed... I've had a twitch in my right eye on and off for a week now. Rapidly vibrating because I have too much to do and am worried I can't get it all done. Work has been long these past few days, off hours for space station ops, I have volunteering, planning for another football adventure not to mention more decorating, Christmas card making, gift buying, ugh! and the dentist and we have no tissues in the house and I have to go to the store.

So while the snow began to fall here at ECGML, I was coordinating some volunteer work as the Alumni President of the House Board for my sorority chapter. One of the first projects to tackle is painting several rooms to upgrade the on campus house they now live in... and boy does this house need A LOT of work! One step at a time, we are going to make it look great!
My Dad's company did the painting work so I know my worries were also that everything went smoothly.

On Friday we headed down to Blacksburg to check out the work, discuss plans for decorating, future house upgrades, and treated some of the girls to dinner at Poor Billy's downtown.
Saturday we headed down to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game against Clemson. I found a great deal at the team hotel and we had awesome seats. on the 50 yard line..
if only we had won the game...
We still had a great time and even got to see my college roomie Courtney a little bit. On our way home we drove through Virginia to spend time the family and meet our newest nephew.
The four days flew by, as they always do. And we had a lovely little road trip... but I still have my eye twitch!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stay-cation Turkey Day

Wow, how time flies! Thanksgiving day marks my 3 year anniversary in Ohio. I can't believe it has been that long. For the last 4 days we had a lovely stay-cation celebrating the holiday and how great the time has been here in Ohio.  

Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures during our stay-cation. I was cooking, relaxing and well, eating all weekend apparently! We began the holiday a day early with a Thanksgiving dinner with J's family. I made a delicious side dish and some pumpkin bread but no photos! Ugh, so annoying. Dinner was wonderful, as always, since J's Aunt is an amazing cook.

Thursday after juevos rancheros gobbling, parade watching (disappointed with the dancers, terrible choreography!) and some vegging around the house we headed over to J's Uncle's families home for an even bigger Turkey dinner, this time with pasta, sausage, & meatballs since they are an Italian family. The only photos I took that day are of us arriving and J playing with the kids on the floor... 
And as much as I missed Turkey day with my family in Virginia, we are so blessed to have family right here in Cleveland to spend time with. The next day we woke up early to do a little Black Friday shopping and even won some good prizes since we were in line bright and early.
That afternoon I set up our big Christmas tree while Jared watched football.  
And we topped off the evening with a fantastic dinner at our friend Mary's house... can you say surf & turf? Delicious! On Sunday we did miss out on seeing our Storck family in Indy and celebrating my most favorite father-in-laws birthday but we hope to see them all very soon. All in all a lovely little stay-cation.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pure Michigan

Every week we drive by gi-normous billboards that apparently deliver subliminal messages of "Pure Michigan"...
Jared always repeats the saying "Your trip begins at" as we drive by. So this past weekend since Nebraska was playing Michigan and we love seeing John (even though it was my birthday weekend) I consented to a day trip to Michigan. Apparently those billboards work! We got up bright and early and headed to what is called "The Big House." It was a pretty fast trip, 2.5 hours and we were in the midst of all the Wolverine fans. We met up with Billie for some tailgating and then to the game!
It was chilly and gray out but we had a great time, even with the Husker loss. We saw a cool military fly over, endured the crazy crowd cheers where the entire stadium of 113,000 people yell "YOU SUCK!" and even found Coach JP in the booth during the game... right under the "V."
Since the team flies back to Nebraska directly after the game, we said our goodbyes and headed into downtown Ann Arbor for the evening. It was a little early for dinner so we stopped off at an Irish pub for a drink. The place was packed! We met some interesting people and had a few tasty beverages... Jameson being one to celebrate our newest nephew and my birthday.
Someone might have mentioned it was whisky... ugh! Next we headed right next door where Jared had made dinner plans at the nicest restaurant in Southern Michigan, The Chop House.
Dinner was fantastic! We had shrimp cocktail, wedge salad, beef wellington for me, a rib eye for J, and of course, creme brulee for dessert. It was such a lovely little birthday-football-Pure Michigan day trip.
And the next morning, my actual birthday I FINALLY got to open this...
A 1/110th scale model of the space shuttle or what J calls my signed football. Love, love, love it! We had a lazy and relaxing day. With a trip to Chagrin Falls for coffee and bagels, an afternoon movie, and a pizza dinner at Anthony's on the West Side. It was a great weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Birthday Week

When I came home from Houston, this was hiding around the corner by a bookshelf...
I am so good about not opening presents, I won't even shake them to see what they could be but this was just staring at me for over a week and it was killing me! I even began guessing what it was and trying to gauge J's reaction. But alas, no clues were discovered. Jared was all prepared for what I can only call my "birthday week". I just LOVED it!

On Monday we had a salmon dinner with some surprise chocolate cupcakes.
Tuesday there were flowers and filet mignon!
I actually made J a quick dinner on Wednesday since he was only home a half hour before heading out for overnight call at Marymount Hospital and I met up with Stacey for drinks and dinner at Cheesecake Factory.

On Thursday night I decided to make my favorite breaded chicken and angel hair pasta since I got home a little early and Jared had such little sleep the night before. We had an Italian feast and watched the Hokies win a crazy Thursday night football game. And tonight we are headed out for some winter clothes shopping and dinner at BoneFish! Yay for bang, bang shrimp and my actual birthday weekend ahead!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Newest "J"

The newest "J" in the family was born last night. Jameson Anthony, my brother's second child. I don't know if I've mentioned it before... but nearly all of us are "J's" with the exception of Mom and my niece Madison. That makes Jameson the 10th "J" in our extended family of 12.
Baby and Mom are doing great... and I can't wait to meet him!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Each football season we try and go to at least one Nebraska football game each year. We were so excited when they joined the Big 10 this season, we wouldn't have to travel far to see Big Red play. We were going to the game to support John and our friend Steve joined us too.  
Early last week a huge scandal at Penn St. broke involving the coaches, administration and awful allegations of abuses against children that seem to have been covered up for years. The famous coach was fired and they were rioting in Happy Valley. We thought the game might be cancelled. I was disgusted about it all, frustrated that some people didn't see this was more important than football.... there were children's lives that had been ruined. 
It was a quiet game. You could see on the fans faces how upset they all were, distraught that their school is under so much shame. As the game started all the players and coaches unexpectedly met at the center of the field, shook hands and then knelt in prayer. The stadium of 100,000+ was silent. It gave me goosebumps. People were crying. And as moving as that was I was so glad to see Nebraska win.
Go Huskers!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Last minute

At the last minute last week I was wisked away on a business trip. My coworker had a family emergency so I just had to go to Texas to train astronauts. Heheheh! I just love my job. All week I worked right next to this...

And ate a whole lot of this...

Mexican food that is! You just gotta love Texas!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Around Town

Last weekend we just hung around town. Friday was our typical pizza night and hanging out at home. Saturday there was perfect football weather and Jared went with his boss to the Ohio State game in Columbus. We met up with Chief's family later that evening for dinner at Panini's in Chagrin Falls and more football watching.

Sunday was another unseasonably warm fall day. So we took a drive like we love to do, but this time to the West side of town. We saw gorgeous lake front houses, families raking leaves just to have them blown everywhere with the gusty winds, and sun, sun, sunshine! We even found this great view of the city at one of the local parks.
There were people flying kites, walking around all over and enjoying the city. We even stopped by the Science Center, although you can't tell where we are from this photo.
Dinner was at home and it was delicious! My in-laws sent some Legal Sea Foods crab cakes as part of J's birthday gift. They were fantastic!! I just love Sundays!
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