Monday, December 28, 2009

Truly a Blessed Christmas

So I have this little pet-peeve of mine..and that is when people overuse the word "blessed". I feel like it's one of those "Christianese" words that gets tossed around a lot. In this last year I have grown to understand a bit better what a real blessing is. I think that when you have a year like mine (that is not particularly one to repeat), it is almost easier to see the true blessings, because they are like a white diamond against a black velvet cloth. They stand out. And although they may be much smaller than the black cloth that's behind it, they are still shining bright and are very obvious. This is how the blessings this year have been for me. I won't go into all the deatils, because I just want to focus on my Christmas blessings. :)

Raleigh and I were unsure of what our Christmas plans were until the day before we were able to leave. UGH!! That is not the blessing part of this story! Let me explain: because Raleigh is the only Nickelodeon-Approved host at the Marriott here, we have been waiting for them to tape someone else doing the show, mail it to Marriott, and then get the final approval from them. A tape was already sent to Marriott for approval in October but they did not approve his replacement. Then they taped this same guy again on Dec. 3 and sent it off the next week (cutting it close I might add...). Since a boss at Marriott decided that the Nickelodeon show should happen on Christmas Day and every day after (through New Year's), we were stuck until we knew if this guy got approved. If he didn't get approved Raleigh and I would have only been able to go to Oregon for about 4 days (that's only 2 days with each family) and would have had to fly back to the desert on Christmas Morning. :(

FINALLY, the day before we were hoping to leave, we got word that he was approved. This is the first blessing. As we were lying in bed at my parent's house on Christmas Eve, I was thinking about how we would have had to fly out the next morning at 5:30AM. That was a truly "blessed" feeling I had. And the whole time we were in Oregon I just felt loved on. Great conversation, concerned hearts for us, and thoughtful gifts that let me know people think about us and care about us. It hit me that when people love me, and when circumstances seem to line up perfectly, that's God showing me love. That's how He chooses to do it sometimes! I felt so loved--not only by my families but by the Lord. He didn't have to put those people in my life and He certainly didn't have to open up the doors for us to be able to make it home for Christmas. But He chose to, and it was a real blessing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

Well, as I already knew, I work for an amazing company. This last weekend we got the privilege to drive up to Vegas to do a company retreat. Although there are only 3 of us who work in the office, we have several other employees around the nation, and Jeff wanted to gather us all together (including spouses!) to do a Christmas party/company retreat. It was a lot of fun and for Rals and me, a first to be in Vegas! We got to do a lot of fun things, even though we were only there for 2 nights, 1 full day. Here are some pictures below to document. :)

On the drive over there.
I really like this picture. We went "the back way" which was crazy...lots of back roads but it was an incredible drive.

Laser Tag- it was a lot of fun.

Me in front of the fountain at the Bellagio.

Rals got to go to the Hoover Dam on the day we employees had our meeting.

A shot of the Dam.

Rals and me in front of the entrance to the show LOVE.

The whole crew in front of LOVE entrance. The show was awesome!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Newport Beach Escape

Raleigh and I had such a great time last weekend in Newport Beach. It was our first weekend away together in over 4 months, since Raleigh hasn't had a weekend off in that long! Sadly I think I've gotten used to having him gone all weekend to where it would almost be weird now if he were home on a Saturday. :( Oh well...just remaining thankful that he has a job. We took advantage of the great Marriott discount and stayed at the Marriott there. It was beautiful, and they even upgraded our room for free to one with an ocean view. Here are some pictures...enjoy!

So beautiful...
That's the ocean behind me :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oregon trip

First of all, I'm a terrible blogger! I can't believe I haven't blogged in over a month. Sad! About two weeks ago I left for a trip to Oregon all by myself. I had to leave Raleigh behind because he could not get the time off of work. I went up there and just visited my family and Raleigh's family. I worked the whole time which was nice, because then I did not have to use any vacation time and both of my families were working anyway! I have a great job that has such good flexibility. I hung out with my parents for the first 4 or 5 days, then spent the last few days with my in-laws. I had such a great time. It was also extremely refreshing for me to be in a place with seasons! I miss the seasons SO much. So I added a few fall pictures in there. :)

David and me picking apples at my grandma's house.

Below: My favorite fall picture! :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Apple Pies

Growing up, baking apple pies was a tradition. My grandma has 2 (I think?) apple trees and especially in the last 5 or 6 years, my mom has received ALL, yes, ALL of the apples from those trees. So we would massively bake about 10 pies at a time and freeze a lot of them for later in the year. At the time I'm not sure I thought it was that fun, but now, I like it a lot and it's something I enjoy doing.

Raleigh and I went to Oak Glen this last weekend (a place down here that has apple orchards) to do the U-pick to get some good apples. Don't get me started on this, but would you believe that in Southern California, it is MORE EXPENSIVE to get U-Pick apples than it is to buy them from their market a half a mile down the road?!!? I did not even think to ask! But after Raleigh and I had paid our $20 to get 10lbs (yes, I know, at the time I was thinking, what?! that's really expensive), we later went into the store and found bagged apples for half that price. Uhhgg...sorry to sound like I'm complaining but it doesn't help my great dislike for this area.

Ok anyway moving on...the other night I set out to make an apple pie but made two. :) Here are some pictures of my process! I love it. And if I do say so myself, the pie was pretty darn good! I actually had a piece for dinner last night..haha. Raleigh and I have eaten one of the whole pies in just 3 short days!

Step 1: Pick the apples (oh except if you live in California)
Oh, step 2: go home and make a really mean burger for dinner! Notice the cheese coming out of the middle of the burger...mmm
Step 3: Make the crust
Step 4: Make the filling! This involves a lot of apple-cutting...which can be oh so tiring...
Step 5: Dutch apple pie crumble crust on top!
Step 6: Eat :) Yummy.
Happy Fall everyone, although it's still 106 here, but technically next week it's "fall".

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Yesterday when I got home from work, I plopped down on the couch, turned on the news, and picked up my REAL SIMPLE magazine that just came in the mail. I was determined that this month, I'm going to read it from cover to cover. The first article was where people write in, and the topic was, "What is Home to you?". I sat there and teared up at most of them, laughed at the others, and all around really enjoyed it. It has inspired me to write my own "Home Is..."

The last two years have been rough as far as finding "home" in Southern California. We haven't felt at home here, and it's been hard to be far from family, and the Northwest (which are the two things I consider to be home). Here's my HOME tribute:

Home is my husband's kiss. It's his hand holding mine. Home is my mom's voice. My dad's walk. My sister's curly hair. It's my brother's strong hug. My mother-in-law's generous hospitality. My father-in-law's laugh. It's my brother-in-law's scientific answer for anything that could possibly happen to you in life, and my sister-in-law's kind and compassionate questions that make me feel cared about. Home is my Grandma Jean's hug. It's my grandma's sweet "hello".

Home is rain. It's fall leaves on the ground and a cup of apple cider in my hand. It's green hills and green trees. It's daffodils, and blossoming cherry trees. It's the soft carpet in my family's living room. The smell of fresh air in my grandma's woods. The sound of my husband and his brother laughing. Home is the tastes that you taste throughout the year that immediately take you back to Christmas. It's picking beans in the garden, and baking pies with my mom. It's eating my mother-in-law's berry cobbler and talking as we do the dishes afterward. It's classical music, and watching my father-in-law at the grill. Having a heart-to-heart with my sister. Home is seeing my husband walk through the door.

Home is all of these things, and so much more, that could never be replaced, and will always have a deep place in my soul.

I miss you, home.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I love good deals, like most women do. And coupons can make for some really, really good deals, if they're good coupons. I admit I'm not one to cut coupons for 35 cents off of a $3 bag of skittles. To me, not really worth it! I like the kind of coupons like, $10 off a purchase of $10 or more, or, $5 off your next shopping trip, 50% off anything including sale items, stuff like that. Today I would say I did pretty well with coupons! I had a few I needed to use before they expired, and here's what I got:

Above picture, total cost: 56 cents!!! Great coupons, along with all of these items already being on sale.

Above picture, total cost: 72 cents!!! Scrapbooking stuff I needed (already on sale, doesn't hurt!) and a greeting card. Oh yeah!

So that's about it...if you have good coupon stories feel free to share!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

San Diego

It's a little late, but here's the post about our trip to San Diego. We had a great time. My family came down for their vacation and Raleigh and I met them over there at my grandma's house. These pictures are kind of in reverse order but oh well. The last weekend, everyone came over to our territory and Mom, Dad, and David stayed in the nice Marriott that Raleigh works at.

With SpongeBob....:)
Yay for the beach!
Mom :)

Both pictures (up and down) are the views right out of our hotel room. The first night in San Diego Raleigh and I stayed in a beautiful Marriott downtown- only $59 with his discount!

Our room!

We had a great time. Now we are back into the swing of things...which means a pretty slow life right now. God has just really put us in this down time where we literally have no commitments except our jobs. It's strange, and we are really anticipating the next chapter of life- hoping that it will come sometime soon. But, still trying to enjoy and savor every day now, so as to not wish life away. Ok that's all for now!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Little Taste...

Yesterday (Sunday) Raleigh and I were able to get out of town for a few hours. Since the 2nd week of July, we haven't been able to leave town because of Raleigh's new schedule. I was dying to get out and go somewhere to escape the heat so yesterday, since he got off work around noon, we went to Idyllwild, a mountain area about an hour from our house. We took a little hike (very little, haha) and just found some cool rocks to sit on and take in the gorgeous Oregon-like scenery. It was a little taste of "home". We took a picnic which was fun and just spent a few hours away. Here are a few pics!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Raleigh's Big Moment

Raleigh was on TV in San Diego recently! He and his boss from the Marriott went down there to promote the Nickelodeon Getaway. I just thought I'd share the link with you. He gets pied in the face so I thought some of you might enjoy watching it. :)

Click Here to watch!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

3 Year Anniversary!

Raleigh and I have now been married for 3 years! Yay!!! I'm so happy to have a wonderful husband who loves me and takes care of me. Not much else to really write, except I thought I'd post some pictures, of the past and present. The first few pics are from our nice dinner out tonight! It was so amazing. We never go to this restaurant (The Cork Tree) because it's pretty expensive, but this was our one thing we were doing to celebrate.

When I got home from work, the lights were turned down, music was playing, and this is what was on the table! So sweet. If you can't read the little note it says 'The best 3 years of my life".
No clue why that picture is smaller. Oh well. Just some wedding pics.

Below: 1 year Anniversary! Disneyland.

Above: 2 year anniversary! Again, Disneyland.
Just being together.