Friday, April 26, 2013

Timeline 2012

With playing fun roles, traveling to lots of pretty places, and finally getting pregnant after 6 and 1/2 years of marriage, 2012 was a busy and fantastic year for us! In March I had the opportunity to play Hansel in "Hansel and Gretel" with NOISE's opera outreach program, and that summer I played Edith in "Pirates of Penzance" with Ovation Theater.

During this time I continued working and we were actively trying to get pregnant with a fertility clinic, but our busy schedules didn't stop us from going on adventures and mini road trips. We hiked the Lake Serene trail in April, hiked Mt Si and took another trip to Whidbey Island and the Columbia River Gorge in May, and went back up to North Cascades National Park in June.

We decided to move to an apartment closer to Oscar's work, and the complex we chose had an opening on August 10th. Our lease in the apartment we were in ended at the end of June, so we took the opportunity to go on a 4 week road trip and save lots of rent money. We started off our first 3 days in Oregon seeing waterfalls in the Little River Valley, exploring the lovely Umpqua River Valley and Crater Lake areas, and checking out some waterfalls and the Oregon Caves National Monument on our way to the California coast. 

Once we got into California we traveled down the northern coast and Big Sur before settling in Burbank for a few days with Oscar's grandparents.
 From there we drove thru Arizona where we saw Grand Canyon National Park and the lovely waterfalls in the remote village of Supai.

Before heading up to Salt Lake City, we stayed about a week in southern and central Utah exploring Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and hiking Mount Timpanogos.

We spent a few days in Yellowstone before coming back down to SLC for Oscar's brother Phillip's wedding.

And finally we were headed home, but not without a couple more adventures before it was back to real life.

After we got home, we began our first IVF cycle and were able to successfully conceive a baby boy. I detailed our experiences with infertility in 3 posts - Pre-diagnosis, testing, diagnosis and IUI's, and IVF and Pregnancy.

And to celebrate our fabulous year, we celebrated a fabulous holiday season. Now that we're having a baby, this will probably be our last year for adventurous travel until we're retired. But we're looking forward immensely to the new adventures that this baby will bring!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012 was super fun for us, though we always miss being with our Utah families when we stay here in Washington. As usual, we decorated our tree with blue lights and blue and silver ornaments. There are a few that aren't blue or silver, but they're few and far between. In 2007 Oscar converted me to blue and silver decorations, and I've never gone back.

These past 7 years, we've gone back and forth between real and artificial trees. As much as I (and the cats) love real trees, they demand more maintenance, they shed, and then you have the hassle of getting rid of them after Christmas is over. We decided to go with a fake tree this year, but we didn't just get whatever was cheapest like we've done in the past. We picked a tree that we thought looked like it could be real thanks to its fullness (at least from a distance). I like to go a bit crazy on lights, and I had to buy new ones after seeing that a few of my strands from last year weren't lighting up. I used to get super cheap lights at Walmart, but this year they didn't have them in blue. They still have cheap multicolored and clear lights, but even online they didn't have blue. I spent quite a bit of money on the few lights I got, so I think I'll have to cut back in the future or it's going to make for too much of an investment.

You can see in the pics above (particularly the darker pic on the right) that I lit the tree very heavy in the middle and light on the top and bottom. The reason I went light on the bottom was due to the cats taking the lights down and playing with them. The top however, was because I started running out of lights and had to make due with what I had left. I'd done a lot of work threading the lights through the branches, so I wasn't up for redoing it all just to make it even.

Crazy Christmas Kitties! Nibbler insisted that the decorations were not going to get in the way of his favorite window spot.

In the past I've had problems with my kitties knocking down and sometimes breaking ornaments. I solved the problem this year by decorating the lowest branches with cat toys. They were drawn more to the toys and left the Christmas ornaments alone for the most part. I found several cat toys knocked down, and I only found 2 small ornaments knocked down (they were tiny bells, so I really can't blame the cats since little bells are so similar to some of their cat toys).  It was also super cute to watch them play with them. I think it's a tradition I'm going to continue from here on out.

Another idea I had was to take pictures of our Christmas gifts and blog about them. I figure it's a more permanent thank you than a card that's just going to get thrown away.

I went a little crazy on stuffing Oscar's stocking this year. He loves dark chocolate, strong mint flavor, ginger, and almonds. He was very pleased.

I accidentally broke my old food scale trying to clean it, and Oscar bought me a nice new one.

I've been wanting a nice woman's digital watch for about 20 years now, but I couldn't ever find one. Most nice women's watches are not digital, and I hate ticking watches. My mom ordered this one for me.

She also picked me up these shoes, this book series, and these gloves. I like slip on shoes, I'd read another series by this author and wanted to read more of her stuff, and I desperately needed some gloves that I could wear in the rain. You'd think I'd have some after nearly 7 years of living in Seattle.

The main thing that Oscar wanted this year was a pair of wireless headphones. My mom picked those up for him within a day of him putting them on his wish list.

I like Christmas shopping for Oscar, though I rarely get him stuff he asks for. Usually I just shop until something jumps out at me that reminds me of him. Oscar enjoys cooking, so I picked him up some fun kitchen gadgets. He often makes taco meat, and I picked him up a tool that lets you cut through the meat without scratching the frying pan. I also got him a new pizza cutter (we somehow lost our old one), and a hand blender for when he makes vegetable soups that need to be pureed.

He also likes making waffles. Our old waffle maker was horrendous to clean! This one doesn't stick and cooks the waffles well, but Oscar had to tamper with it a bit to get it to turn properly. He had to let part of the handle burn off since it was catching and preventing the iron from turning, but now it works great.

I also picked up this nifty item I saw on the show "Shark Tank" that lets you turn any hollow item into a speaker. And as a practical gift, I picked him up a new comforter. The one on our bed now is too hot for summer temperatures, so we needed a lighter blanket. Melissa came to visit us in January before leaving on her mission, and she got to try it out first.

Oscar picked me up some nice practical gifts too. He really went above and beyond this Christmas. I made him a list of things I wanted, and he researched online reviews to make sure I got the best products out there. He bought me some nice touchscreen gloves that I can wear even if it's raining, and he got me a lovely trench coat for our super rainy days. I've had difficulty using my phone when I'm wearing gloves, but I don't want cheap gloves either that won't keep my hands very warm or will get soaked in the rain. This pair fit all of my specifications. I'd also had problems with coats. Either they repelled the rain but weren't warm enough (like garbage bag material), or they were plenty warm (like fleece), but would get soaked in the rain. This coat is wonderful. It keeps me warm while it's raining. Good job Oscar!

I'd asked for a new curling iron, and Oscar accidentally picked me up a straightener! I tried using it to do the hairstyle you see on the right, but it didn't turn out well. Professional stylists often style my hair this way after I get a haircut, and they make it look super easy by simply curling up with a straightner. Either I wasn't doing it right or the straightener is too small. I'll have to check with a hair stylist to see how to use it properly. If the straightener is just too small, it's going to be re-gifted.

Fortunately Oscar redeemed himself with these fantastic rollers. You let the steamer on the left steam up a bit of water, then put the roller on it for a few seconds to heat before curling the hair. It works great, and the rollers clamp on really nicely. I'd highly recommend it.

Oscar asked for a razor specifically for shaving his head. His mom picked him up the one he put on his amazon wishlist, and one of his agents at work (who also shaves his head) picked him up the same one. Oscar's mom also picked him up a nice mortar and pestle. He's been wanting one for grinding up herbs in his cooking. I promise the picture on the right is not drugs! He first used it to grind down some allergy pills for the cats so we could sprinkle them over their food.

We had a few more gifts in the shaving department. Oscar bought me a fancy venus razor and some nice disposable razors, and his mom picked me up this kitty cat robe.

Oscar's mom also picked me up the Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm series (I love anything "Flintstones) as well as the game Mario Galaxy and a wii mote with wii motion plus sensor. One of my wii motes isn't keeping it's charge properly, so I asked for a new one. My friend Amy picked us up another one of the sensors to go with our working wii mote.

Amy also got the game Guillotine for us, which we taught to Melissa while she was up visiting us.

I got a few other video games from my mom and from my sister. My mom got me Dance Dance Revolution 2 for Wii and my sister got me Just Dance Disney for XBOX. People think I'm weird for liking DDR when there are more realistic dancing games these days. I like them both. The Just Dance, Zumba, and other games are like doing a fun aerobics workout. DDR is like playing an active rhythmic game.

My sister also bought me this awesome collection of classic movies and the book "Molto Agitato" about the Metropolitan Opera.

She also picked up this nifty shoe container for Oscar. Oscar wears a size 11, so his shoes don't typically fit most shoe containers (which are usually meant for women). Fortunately IKEA had a pair of size 12 shoes in this model, and we were able to try them out in the others and judge that this was the only one that would fit shoes that large. He can fit 6 pairs in this container. Good thing he doesn't have a lot of shoes!

Even the cats got some Christmas love. Fry has always had a thing for moving water, so I picked him up a water dish with a little fountain. He loves it! Sometimes he just sits and stares at it.

And Mike and Shannon got us this fabulous cat tree. I've seen them at other people's houses and have been wanting one for several years now. We love watching them play on it, particularly when they get in little cat fights on the perches like in the pic on the far right.

And to finish off a fabulous year, we rang in the New Year with Brad and Marianna. You just can't beat pizza, sparkling cider, Settlers of Catan, and party hats! Thanks everyone mentioned for making our Holidays rock!

And Liz and Nick got us the Yoga cats calendar and a baby blanket, Oscar's mom got baby a kitty blanket and the book "3 little kittens," Brad and Marianna brought us back a Yankee Candle from their trip back east, and Josh and Rebecca got us a gift set of baby bathroom products. I need to take pics of those and update this post.