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!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random & Adorable

The strangest thing happened to me today. I am in line at Panera for lunch and the girl next to me asks me if I have a blog. "WHAT?!? How is this possible?" I am thinking. It wasn't a totally random person. She is friends with a cousin of my friend Laura. But still, someone I don't know out there in the ether who reads these silly little ramblings of my life. Kinda weird, kinda random, but kinda cool as well.
So here is a shout out to Panera lady and to anyone who reads this that I don't personally know! Follow along and let me know if you have a blog that I can follow too.

And when I got home with this interesting story, these were on the counter...
My husband, my darling husband, not only brought these flowers home but made my favorite dinner. And why you ask? He got news that he passed his surgical board exam!! Apparently when Jared was growing up and his Dad got promoted he would bring gifts home to the family and Jared was doing the same thing. Oh, what an adorable man. :)   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Birthdays!

Today starts many of the November birthdays I celebrate with the people in my life. The second, is both my husband and my brother Jeff's birthday. While we went out to dinner tonight of course, at our favorite place Jekyll's, my parents were surprising my brother with a visit to Richmond to take him out to dinner.
How I would love to see his face when they tell him they are in town! Hope he cleaned up his apartment... gotta love college. Hehehe. And since I don't have a photo of him from today, here is one of my favorites from many moons ago with our family dog Elroy. Miss you Jeff!!
Next we celebrate the birthday of my favorite brother-from-another-mother, Jason, or rather my brother-in-law. This year it will be 11-11-11 for his birthday and I hope it is a lucky year for him. Not that he needs luck he is such a success already.  Here is the birthday boy, Jason and his twin about a month ago. Happy early birthday Jason!
On the 19th my Uncle celebrates a milestone birthday. The big 5-0! We had a great time during his visit a few weeks ago and I so wish I was with him to celebrate this special day.
The 20th is my birthday and my favorite day of the year. Last year I got a surprise visit from some of my family... 
No plans for this year, probably just relaxing and enjoying the day.

Rounding out the rest of the month are both my father-in-laws (60th!) and my Uncle David's birthday on the 27th and Aunt Ronnie's on the 29th. Annnnnd one more birthday-to-be is coming this month. My newest little nephew is one the way in late November.

Happy birthday to all of us November babies!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Yay! We had a visitor this past weekend! My Godfather, Uncle Robert, came to Cleveland to visit. My Mom's brothers have always seemed more like older brothers to me and my sister instead of Uncles. Uncles always seemed like grown ups where Robert and Connie would play with us and didn't treat us like "kids". Robert even lived with us for many years. They were just around more... and our relationship is just different, it is great. They both are always there for us, no matter what we need.

It was such a nice visit... AND fantastic weather for his trip. While the East Coast was getting an unseasonable Halloween snow storm, we had gorgeous skies. We continued the week of dining out, and headed to Geraci's on Friday night for dinner and then rented one of the worst movies I have ever seen, Bad Teacher. DO NOT watch this. You will never get those ninety-two minutes of your life back... even with Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake. So... so bad.

Saturday we headed to the West Side Market.
Everything smelled so fresh with fruits, veggies, cheeses, and more. Jared and Robert had some of the famous beef jerky while I sampled a delicious apple fritter! Next up was the crepe station... unfortunately they looked better than they tasted.
We did a little site seeing and drove home through downtown since Robert, just like Mom, had no idea Cleveland was on a lake! During our drive Jared happened to get pulled over by a cop (Oops, we missed a no u-turn sign!) but thankfully no tickets were issued...lucky duck!

Our luck continued that day with another Hokie win but, it was a close one to Duke of all teams! With a trip to Whole Foods for supplies we made a feast of snacks with kale chips, cheeses, and guacamole while Jared was enthralled with college football. After a delicious steak dinner at home we hit up both Mitchell's Ice Cream AND East Coast Custard (yes, East Coast Custard in the Midwest).

Sunday came too fast with the weekend, and my Uncle's trip, coming to a close. So with some shopping at my favorite little town of "Sugar 'N Falls" as Julie likes to call it and a late Mexican fiesta lunch we ended the day.
It was such a nice visit!
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