In the spirit of Usher…

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These are my confessions.

I used to loathe Valentine’s Day. The sixteen-year-old version of myself despised it the most. A whole holiday full of ginormous stuffed teddy bears and dollar-store chocolate roses coupled with hormonal, angst-y teenagers swapping spit by their lockers was just too much for my tender heart.

Ok, I’ll cut the crap. I was totally jealous (hopefully my pride recovers from that acknowledgment). Pretty sure my talk with the universe went a little bit like this every February 14th…BRING ON THE GERBER DAISES AND MIXED CD’S FULL OF DASHBOARD CONFESSIONALS and OCTOBER FALL. WHEN THAT OFFICE AIDE COMES THROUGH THE CLASSROOM DOOR WITH A CHEAP HEART-SHAPED BOX FULL OF WAXY CHOCOLATE, LET IT BE FOR ME. I’M COUNTING ON YOU UNIVERSE. DON’T LET ME DOWN (insert sappy teenage girl sending cosmic thoughts into the great unknown).

Trouble is, it never really worked. I mean I had my fair share of those cute little butterfly-inducing crushes and a few noteworthy “relationships” (man I was soooooo mature) throughout the three years of weird that was high school. But Valentine’s day itself was always a super big let down. And I reacted with enough mellow-dramatic nonsense to win an Oscar…move over Meryl Streep.

Ever since then, I haven’t really gotten over my Valentine’s scrooge-ness. I scoff at conversation hearts and shake my head at grocery store roses. Don’t get me wrong, Ryan and I celebrate, but it isn’t a big thing in our house.

However, this year something changed.

I dunno what it was, but I woke up Valentine’s morning just brimming with love for my cute CPA (realistically that happens most mornings, but this was sappy/cheesy/ridiculous infatuation). Everywhere I went Cupid’s arrows shot me straight in the face. When I hit up the grocery store and saw the card aisles teeming with last-minute shoppers, hot tears literally sprang into my eyes. I could feel the love-vibes everywhere I went. I seriously skipped a few times.

So this year, I tried a lot harder. I sent cutesy texts to Ryan. I cleaned the house. I ordered an extra-special surprise online (which still hasn’t come…dang it!). I mean I even curled my hair. Yes I’m so lazy that curling my hair has become a meaningful gesture at our house. I guess I’m kind of like the Valentine’s Grinch -my heart grew two sizes that day!

To sum up our day in a few words, we ordered Mexican take-out, broke my cardinal PDA rule and made-out in public. It was awesome. And you know what… it was the best Valentine’s Day ever.

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For My Mama

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This past weekend my mama came to visit. As she always does, she filled our home with a very special type of sunshine. There is just something so right about having her here…I kind of feel taken care of, you know?

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Between the late night talks (who are we kidding, we both feel asleep by 10pm…awesome!), Ghirardelli trips, rich food (hello bloated tummy), shopping, and just plain being together, the weekend was exactly what I needed.

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OH! And our wildest dreams FINALLY came true…we saw the Broadway production of Wicked. IN San Francisco. AT the Orpheum theater. I’m still speechless. I have been changed for good (did you catch my pun? Clever, aren’t I?). Also, I may have a girl-crush on Dee Roscioli.

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I have less than 4 hours till I drop my mama off at the airport and my heart is already starting to hurt a little. Sometimes it’s pretty hard living away from family. You miss the steady, comfortable rhythm that only they give.

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But then we have weekends like this one, and I am grateful that every visit feels like an event worth celebrating. She is my very favorite type of amazing, that mama of mine.

3:37 AM

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So here it is 3:37 AM and I can’t sleep. Do you ever have those nights where for some irrational reason you wake up for who-knows-why and try as you may you just CANNOT quiet your mind enough to slip back into nothingness? I know you can sympathize with me.

Luckily, I don’t have anything very perplexing on the stage of my psyche at this lonely hour of the moon-drenched morning. Of course I have those little day-to-day anxieties that seem so big when it’s dark outside and so infinitesimal in the brighter daylight hours.  Doesn’t everybody? Silly little things like budgets and work schedules and the beauty that is West Elm.

My initial reaction to this sleepless hour was agitation and frustration. All I wanted was to sleep and by golly, I should be able to. And then I was hit with the following realization:

I am not sleepless because I am wrestling with a sick child or family tragedy or financial burden. I am not struggling over health concerns or big life decisions. I am not contending with my conscience or agonizing over a broken relationship. I am not battling with grief or shame. I am merely sleepless.

No, I don’t have anything of much consequence on my mind; right at this moment, I am pristinely aware of that. And so very grateful.

Instead, I get to lay here and listen to the soft even breathing of my sweet husband.  I get to sink deeper into a cocoon of blankets and love and body heat. I get to count the blessings that so outnumber the stressors in my little life.  I get to take a few stolen moments to ponder the good.

Suddenly, I am feeling immensely grateful for the blessing of this lonely sleepless hour.

xoxo,

Liss

P.S. The pic above was taken from a window at work during my lunch yesterday. Isn’t the bay a stunner?

I Love You, Ron Swanson

Leslie: Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?

Ron: People are idiots, Leslie

Because we are die hard Parks and Rec fans (and because I pretty much bleed waffles and honey, no syrup fans here!) Ryan and I decided it was high time we packed on a few pounds by hosting a breakfast-for-dinner Parks and Recreation viewing party.  I mean really, besides church there is no better religion than breakfast food and laughter, am I right or what?

Guests: a few rad people. Namely, the Beards, the Aikeles, and the Joneses.

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Activities: cramming as much breakfast food as we could into our all-too-willing bellies. Oh, and laughing our faces off compliments of Ron Swanson, Leslie Knope, Tom Haverford and the gang.

Food: Waffles, fruit (to ease the fat guilt just a little), OJ, bacon, waffles, bacon, eggs, whipped cream, waffles, bacon, waffles…you get the idea. I forgot to get pics of the actual food. I was too busy shoving it down my gullet.

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Highlights: Super cute babies that may have made my ovaries sing just a little bit. Ok, a lot.

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Lowlights: My husband’s Ron Swanson impersonation complete with nasty sex-offender mustache, comb-over hair and flannel-tucked-into-too-high-khakis. Seriously folks, I refused to kiss him till that nasty thing was shaved off his handsome mug.

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Are you drooling yet? If not because of the bacon grease smell I’m sure you are over Ryan’s mustache. He’s sexy and he knows it.

xoxo,

Liss

In which we get the heck out of dodge.

Early last week I felt a little suffocated. Kind of like my insides weren’t quite at peace with my outsides and they needed a little time to escape the static normal and just chill. Oftentimes a good hard, meditation-inducing run will solve that problem, but I didn’t want to run. “What to do?” I wondered.

Then it hit me (ok, I’m lying, I already knew what I wanted to do but I had to add just a little dramatic flair): I needed to ditch my so-called responsibilities and leave for a weekend. Kind of like when you are sixteen-years-old and the thought of enduring an hour and fifteen minutes of algebra sounds like hell, so you ditch school, hit up the local Macey’s for a package of Mambas and swing on the library swings for all of sixth period.

I originally begged Ryan to take me to Disneyland where I could drown my woes with seventeen Dole whips and ride Peter Pan until I could not stand it anymore, but he shut that one down fast and hard. It’s hard to get the man to embrace the pure bliss that is Disney. It’s been a struggle our whole marriage and will probably continue to be. I kid, I kid.

Just when I thought all hope was lost my sanity-saving friend Peyton suggested Monterey and Carmel. Seeing as every bone in my body loves the ocean and that it was infinitely cheaper than Disneyland (Ryan’s requirement, not mine), I grabbed onto that idea like a drowning old woman to the local hunky lifeguard (wow my metaphors are getting ridiculous…ridiculously awesome). So we lost our Priceline virginity, scored an awesome and cheap hotel room and cruised on down south for the weekend.

Friday night included hitting up the Gilroy outlets where I bought these awesome pants that I am still drumming up the courage to wear, to die for guacamole and enchiladas, and a quick dip in the hot tub, after hours. Because when you are ditching your responsibilities it is mandatory that you thrown in a mix of rebellion, just for good measure.

Saturday morning the Joneses introduced us to the best waffle I have ever had in my life. Hands down. I’m 98% positive it was made with cake batter. The best part: I didn’t even feel remotely guilty for eating it, it was that good. Waffle for the win.

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We then explored a few little shops where I chose to blend in to the candy factory like I had picked out my coat just for the occasion.

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Next came the Monterey Aquarium. A bit spendy, but we scored because my aunt’s mom is a local and got us tickets for free. Even still, I probably would have made Ryan take me anyway; I have been dying to go forever. Our favorites: the jelly fish and the coral. Basically I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in the area.

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We jetted down to Carmel for lunch and a little more exploratory shopping. Cutest thing about the area, supposedly some of the older houses don’t even have addresses…they just have names. That has always been a fantasy of mine, ever since I first learned of Netherfield Park in Pride and Prejudice.

While in Carmel, the beach is also an absolute must (is this beginning to sound like a travel brochure to anyone else?).

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The Joneses have this friend whose grandma owns a house on Pebble Beach golf course. Not by the golf course…on the golf course. I mean this one time they met Josh Duhamel because he practically hit a ball onto their porch. Now that is my kind of address. But if you think I loved it, Ryan pretty much peed his pants over the whole thing. To this day his face is still frozen in a grin. Maybe if we save our pennies for ten years he will be able to afford to play one round of golf there. Scratch that, it will probably take fifteen.

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If you survived this super long post I commend you. Even I had to take breaks while writing it. But it was a weekend to remember, that’s for certain.

xoxo,

Liss