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Category Archives: Love and Marriage

Babymooning

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Babymooning

The past year has been the biggest, most important of my life.  In November of 2012, Marco and I found out we were expecting a baby.  We had been working with a doctor for a few months, and on October 29th, we had some help.  Anyone who has questioned their own fertility knows how difficult those doctor’s visits can be, and they said I had a 5-20% chance of getting pregnant.  My age was a big factor, because I was already 35.  Anyway, I was nauseous all day on November 12th, and I finally tested on November 16th.  Positive!!  I laid out the test and a special Darth/Godfather onesie I had purchased to surprise Marco.  Our adventure had begun!

I’m not sure what worked for us.  Maybe it was acupuncture, or modern science, timing, or a wonderful trip to New York in September that did it, or maybe a combination of all of those things.  No doubt we owe a great deal of gratitude to the Kaiser Garden Grove Infertility Department, and to Profound Youth Acupuncture in Corona, but the New York trip really helped us relax and forget about trying to have a baby for a little while.

Times Square  Empire State Building  The best dinner!

These photos really tell the story.  We had the time of our lives!  We may have spent a little too much money, but it didn’t matter.  We saw the sights, and we were able to have dinner with our friends at the famous Momofuku Ssäm Bar.  We called it “pork and cocktails,” and it was one of the best dinners we have ever had.

At 6 weeks, we went for an ultrasound, and there it was!  A tiny heartbeat in the middle of a grainy peanut on the black and white screen.  Only one, thank goodness, because the doctor said we could have had four.  Four!  Maybe we could have had our own TV show??  Marco instantly said he was “going public,” and started posting on Facebook.  He was one happy father-to-be.

6 Weeks

And thus began our “Babymoon.”  We headed to New Orleans for a work conference for me in December, and Marco spent the three days wandering the French Quarter and taking photos.  He even got to attend a Saints game while I was in a workshop.  Our evenings were delightful there, and we will definitely be going back.  Perhaps the most wonderful thing about NOLA is that there are people playing brass instruments on street corners, at all hours of the day.  Brass!  Not just a guitar or drums, but brass!

The art and colors of the city are just beautiful, also.  Here are a couple of photos Marco took on his walks:

NOLA joy NOLA bikes

But if you are traveling to NOLA, the best thing, really the BEST thing, is the food.  The art, music and spirit of the city are all combined in the food.  We had some great meals, like gumbo and jambalaya, but the most delicious were the oysters that were grilled with a butter, garlic, and parmesan crust.  To die for.

One of the things I decided during my pregnancy was that I would enjoy it.  I was lucky, and I only experienced a few days of nausea, and my main complaints were increased sensitivity to smells (taking out the garbage really turned my stomach) and I couldn’t stand the taste of chicken.  I had no strange cravings…just a lot of ground beef!  I followed Princess Kate and Kim Kardashian…both got pregnant about a week before me.  I felt so bad for Kate…so sick and uncomfortable!  And Kim gained so much weight…made me feel good about myself!

In April, we found out we were expecting a boy.  In that instant, everything changed.  Marco, teary-eyed and excited, couldn’t wait to announce it.  I was more reserved.  I was happy, but I had just spent a few days holding two  baby girls, and getting a little attached to them.  It was time to adjust my expectations, and start getting excited about holding a little boy!  From the ultrasound, it looked like he had his dad’s nose and hands.

Ultrasound

We started doing pictures of my belly, but I was reluctant to do the bare-belly pics at first.

This was a photo shoot with Marco at 22 weeks:

22 Weeks

At 26 weeks, I took 3rd place in a pool tournament at a friend’s birthday party (I had a bye, and two of my opponents scratched on the 8 ball…I am not a good pool shark!):

26 Weeks

This is another friend’s birthday party at 27 weeks.  That’s a special, sparkly, non-alcoholic drink they found for the pregnant girl:

27 Weeks

Here’s a shot from another photo shoot with Marco at 27 weeks, at the Great Park in Irvine:

27 Weeks Photo Shoot

At 28 weeks, we traveled to Montana for my cousin’s wedding.  It was beautiful, and we had a wonderful time!

28 WeeksMontana 28 weeks Montana wedding

I wore my regular clothes as long as I could, but eventually the belly forced its way out.  At 30 weeks, Marco took this:

30 Weeks

At 33 weeks, I had my first of 3 baby showers:

33 Weeks

And at 34 weeks, we had another photo shoot (yes, that is a broken cement deer in our front yard):

34 Weeks

At 36 weeks, we went to Disneyland to celebrate my birthday.  We stuck to slow rides and the Tiki Room, but it was very fun!  Here’s a video Marco took as I ate the ice cream he bought me:

http://t.co/uuCc52TM6z 

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Be brave, travel, and love.

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Today, November 1st, is my mother’s birthday.  She is 30 years older than me (plus some months and days), and I am grateful that she waited to have children.  My sister and I have always benefitted from her hard work, her life experience, and her wisdom.

My mom spoiled my sister and I.  We were allowed to climb in the big parents’ bed to sleep, we were encouraged to find a way to play, no matter what, and she had a sympathetic ear when we didn’t want to clean our rooms.  We also learned that one of the best treats is ice cream, after popcorn.  She may have had a hard time saying no, but she definitely taught us fun.  We have had hard times and good times, but she is able to find the joy in any situation.

When my mother was 18, she left home and got a job as a secretary for the state department.  She spent those daring years living in Germany and Russia, at the heart of the Cold War, typing letters for diplomats.  When she came home, she moved in with her best friend, and they took off on a road trip across the country.  Eventually, she got back together with her high school sweetheart (my dad), and they settled down together.  This has served as a pattern for me: be brave, travel, love.

To meet her, you might say she’s good-natured and funny, and incredibly supportive of those around her.  But she is stronger than you’d guess.  She and my dad decided to uproot us and move to a small town when we were 11 and 9.  We fought and cried to stay in our school, but we were dragged two hours away to horse country.  My father had long dreamed of having his own ranch, and my mother worked in their small business to make his dream a reality.  In a quiet moment, I heard her whisper, “I just never thought I’d have horses and cows.”  This only underscores her love and devotion to her husband.

Now my sister has two children.  I see the grandkids getting spoiled like we were when they go to grandma and grandpa’s house, and I love when I get to be a part of it.

My mom’s life experience has given her patience and understanding.  I am told that I am like her, and I hope that is true.  I look a bit like her, but I don’t know that I have her patience.  I DO know, however, that I will live my life following what she taught us:

-Love completely and unconditionally.

-Even at the worst times, ice cream and a funny movie can make everything better.

-Be adventurous.  If you want to see the world, go do it.

-Work hard.  You are in charge of your own destiny, and you can find a way to get to your dreams.

-Support your husband.  He is your partner, and together you can make your life what you want it to be.

-Cleaning is less important than playing.  This includes encouraging small children to play in the mud.

-Nothing is impossible.  You just have to believe it will happen.

-Make the people you love the most important things in your life.  That means every phone call should be greeted with an excited “Hello, there!” even if we’ve already talked today.

Here’s my mom and dad with me sometime around the beginning of 1978:

Don’t you love these old pictures?  Isn’t she pretty?

Here’s another one of my mom and her sister with me (in the red gingham…!) and two of my cousins:

 

Weird gene pool, I know…blond aunt, dark-haired cousin, blond me, dark-haired mom.

Gotta love the 70s styles.

Thanks for everything, Mom.  Happy Birthday!  We love you.

 

Marriage and “The Bachelorette”

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Yesterday Marco and I went to the mall, and we made a stop at Popcornopolis.  We got a large bag of cheddar popcorn, and then discussed how we would sneak it into the movie theater.  Marco suggested stopping somewhere to get little baggies and hiding them in my purse, as the original bag was too large.  However, we decided to be good and go home to watch our Sunday shows.  This Sunday was special, though.  It was the season finale of The Bachelorette.  Yes, we watch every episode of every Bachelor and Bachelorette, including the reunion shows.  There are great recaps of every episode at Lost Angeles.  It’s a funny blog by a guy who watches it with his wife.

When we got home, we settled on the couch to watch Emily choose her final guy.  Anyone who’s been following this show knows that she feels a “connection” to Arie, but that Jef is the clear winner, despite the missing f.  He’s nice, they have similar senses of humor, they can both shoot clay pigeons like nobody’s business, and he’s hot.  A little tip: we are very likely to marry someone who we feel is like us; equal to us in looks, intelligence,  and humor.   Opposites don’t necessarily attract…we really just want another version of ourselves around.

Anyway, we were both sitting on the couch, on our respective sides.  [Any time we trade sides it feels very strange.]  Our couch is awesome.  It has two recliners, with a seat in the middle.  The middle seat NEVER gets used, unless I feel like cuddling, but it’s difficult to cuddle from the middle when he’s totally reclined.  So we were both reclining, with the popcorn bag sitting on the middle seat.  We each had a paper towel in our laps, and we were taking turns pouring popcorn onto the towels.

At some point, Marco felt the bag was going to spill all over the couch, so he moved it closer to his side and propped it up.  The mood instantly changed.  I gave him a warning look, because that popcorn was half mine, and now he was taking ownership of the bag.  On my next refill, I held the bag on MY side and propped it up.  Then he took it back, and we went back and forth like this, both of us suspecting the other was going to finish off the popcorn without sharing enough.  He finally relented and graciously handed the bag to me when we were down to the last few kernels.

What struck me during this hour was that we were watching a TV show where the sole purpose is to find someone to marry.  They go from one exotic locale to the next, alternately falling in love and getting dumped, just so they can finally find “the one” and end up sitting at home on the couch fighting with their spouse over who gets to hold the bag of popcorn.

Marco and I laughed over this, and I realized that this is what it’s all about.  It’s not about the big romantic scenes; it’s about the quiet, funny, everyday life that we get to share with one another.  I feel so lucky to have found “the one” who has a sense of humor like mine, and who loves me just as I am.

LA Hipster Day

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Last Sunday was another LA day for us, but we weren’t just stopping on our way through town.  Sunday was normal at our house, with Marco editing photos and me working in the yard.  Then he suggested a drive to Los Angeles and visiting places we’ve never been.  Our first stop was the Brewery Arts Complex.  It’s downtown on Main Street, and it’s a live/work complex for artists.  Some studios are open to the public, but most of them are private residences.  Since we were there on Sunday, most were closed.  But it’s worth walking around anyway!  The area is a collection of old industrial buildings, including the old Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery, Paradox Iron, and the Edison building.

I loved the Paradox Iron building because it’s so rusted…it fits its name.

We thought the old buildings were so cool!  We had to pose.

The complex has been refurbished by the artists who live and work there.    There is a small park in the middle, with decor fashioned from old parts of machines.  I am amazed at how artists can take everyday objects and turn them into things of beauty.

It was very nice to walk around and see how the artists have turned a barren, forgotten space into individual homes.  The majority of them have brilliant gardens and gates serving as their entrances.

After our look around the Brewery, we stopped at the nearby San Antonio Winery.  We picked up a bottle of their Cardinale for my mom…it’s a very sweet red made from Concord grapes.  We found out that the winery’s grapes come from Napa, Monterey, and Paso Robles (my hometown).  They recently opened a new tasting room in Paso, too.

After looking around their tasting room, we made our way through downtown, and we noticed some very cool bridges.  We had to stop and take some photos.

From downtown, we headed to Silverlake.  We  love the little shops in this area, and one of Marco’s favorite Mexican seafood restaurants, 7 Mares, is there on Sunset.  We stopped for some shrimp tacos.

We continued on down Sunset and turned onto Hollywood Boulevard, and I introduced Marco to Wacko/Soap Plant.  This is a crazy store with books, toys, gifts, accessories, and work by many artists.  On Sunday, they had a taxidermy display.  Definitely worth a visit, and we’ll have to go back.  They closed shortly after we walked in, but it was enough to see how fun it is.

Loving LA

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The song “I Love LA” may sound silly, but it is true.  When you have lived in LA, you know the love someone can feel for the city.  Like a west coast disciple of Carrie Bradshaw, I spend time in the city whenever I get the chance.  In the last couple of weeks, Marco and I made a few stops around LA, and we have a renewed excitement for being tourists in our own corner of the world.  One interesting place we stopped was a consignment store called Nick Metropolis.  It’s a vintage Hollywood store, and they have tons of furniture and accessories that all look like movie props.  They rent out their merchandise for films and parties, also.

Some of my favorite items were the neon letters.  They had so many!

Marco and I also liked a couple of quirky things, like the shoe chairs and the bike mower.

This place is a lot of fun.  We asked about buying some furniture, but everything we liked was a little too expensive.  I’ve read that other people found great deals, though.  It’s definitely worth a stop to have a look around!  Places like this reinforce what a fun city this is.

If you feel like exploring, wander down the alley behind the store.  Nick’s is on La Brea near Wilshire, which is a great place to shop.  There are some wonderful furniture and accessory shops with a modern, urban feel.

We also wandered into a restaurant and decided to eat there.  It’s called Tinga, and it’s on the same block as Nick’s.

We went in the back way, but the restaurant is gorgeous inside.  It’s simple and artistic.  And they served wonderful food!  We shared a plate of pork loin tacos, cooked with peppers and in a wonderful sauce, served in hand made tortillas.  So yummy!  Marco had a watermelon juice, and I had a Mexican Coke.

Marco told me I had to see the bathroom, and he was right!  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture, but the bathroom is all black and white murals, almost like Shel Silverstein.  I looked it up, and the urban dictionary says that the word “tinga” means toilet or urinal in the Shamananalan language.  So maybe this is why their bathrooms are so special!  However, the closest thing Google can find to Shamananalan is M. Night Shyamalan.  So maybe it’s a language created by the quirky director.  Hollywood, again!  Gotta love LA.

Weekend in Bakersfield

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Our busy month of May continues!  Last weekend we headed to lovely Bakersfield for a wedding.

The groom is a friend of Marco’s from USC, and during the reception, the USC fans cheered the groom with Trojan football signs and the fight song.  It’s always a bit awkward for me, being the lone Bruin in the room, but Marco loves it.  This time, he was the voice leading the “Southern California” cheer.  “A house divided” is a theme in our lives together, and it’s one we have fun with.

Bakersfield turned out to be pretty fun!  Our Best Western Hotel was next to the Buck Owens Crystal Palace, and the first night, there were horses in a corral outside.  There is a bar near our house with a corral, and locals ride their horses there and back.  I wonder if that’s what the corral was for at the Palace?

The bar in our hotel was a lot of fun, but a bit too well-lit, as I mentioned in an earlier post.  But the karaoke was a very fun mix.  Some classic country songs, and some Michael Jackson songs were among the ones we heard.

  

The hotel was on Buck Owens Boulevard, and it had a very central location.  Also, it had a diner attached that served complimentary full breakfasts to the guests.  It was a great classic diner, and a very nice surprise.

  

On the wall behind the cash register (which seemed unnecessary, as all the food was complimentary!) were photos of celebrities who had dined there.  I would assume these are people who performed at the Crystal Palace.  I found a picture of Buck Owens on an old episode of “Hee Haw.”  If you’ve never seen the show, you should check it out!  It’s a mix of music and sketch comedy, with a country theme.

  

We (of course) forgot the invitation at home, so we had to rely on my faulty memory for the address of the church.  Thank goodness for GPS!  The church was located at 1515 Baker Street in Bakersfield, which I only remembered because it reminded me of 15 Yemen Road, Yemen, from “Friends.”  Anybody else remember that episode?

The church was St. Joseph Catholic church, where the groom attended as a child.  It was beautiful inside and out.

  

I think it’s fun to look at what people wear to weddings.  I loved this girl’s hair and dress.

And doesn’t Marco look cute with his new hair cut and blue shirt?  

I saw him taking this photo of himself from across the room.

The drive to Bakersfield only took about two hours from Corona, and even though we left home after 8, we made it to the hotel before 11.  We made some stops on the way home, which made it a full, fun weekend.  But all this travel has made us pretty tired!  It will be nice to spend some time at home this weekend.

Newport Beach Film Festival

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On Friday, Marco and I went to see a film in the Newport Beach Film Festival.  It was a lot of fun, and we loved the fake “red carpet” backdrop.

Here’s Marco posing for the cameras.

He tried to get a good picture of me, but I didn’t stand still long enough.  I kind of like it, though!

We saw an incredibly gory movie called Portrait of a Zombie.  But don’t click on the link unless you can handle gore!  I was a little sick at times.  It’s a mockumentary about a film crew who follows a family with a zombie son, set in Ireland.  We got to meet the director, and we stayed for the Q & A.  He’s a nice, mild-mannered guy with a very sick mind.

The Festival is still going on, so now’s your chance to go meet and support some budding filmmakers!

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