Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Blast to the Past

After checking out of our Sorrento hotel, Chris and I headed about an hour north to visit the ancient city of Pompeii. I, personally, love visiting historical sites, so I was really excited for this day of the trip.

Pompeii, for those of you unfamiliar with the city, was partially destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 ft of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Pompeii was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748.

The city was preserved extremely well so visitors get a great feel of what life was like prior to the eruption. Many buildings, their wall paintings and floor tiles, sculptures and other artifacts are still intact so you could definitely feel the life of the city as it was.

For how long ago this city was built and inhabited, it was surprisingly large.Chris and I did not expect to spent more than a few hours there, so we unable to see every corner. Luckily, we were able to squeeze in all of its top sites; the homes, restaurants, both theaters and the bath house.

Chris and I both experienced a really powerful moment when we visited the plaster casts of the victims. Seeing how these people were positioned when the city was buried and just imagining yourself in that situation, really put things in perspective.
In the Forum of Pompeii
We hated to leave Pompeii, but we wanted to visit the volcano responsible for the city's demise before it closed. It was time to visit Vesuvius.

The drive to the semi-top of the volcano took roughly 45 minutes from Pompeii. Vesuvius is now a National Park so you can drive and park fairly close to the peak. Once we parked, we had to climb the steep path up to the top (which is about 220 feet high from the parking area).

To be honest, Mt. Vesuvius was a tad disappointing. The crater was much smaller than we expected and it was filled with dirt. However, knowing what this powerful volcano did all those years ago (and apparently what it's still capable of doing) made it a worthwhile trip. And Chris got to see steam coming off of the rocks (something he talked about from a video we found on YouTube), so that was a win. ;)

As I said, I enjoy seeing places of historical significance, so to be able to see two major sights in one day really was an experience. All in all, this was, personally, one of my favorite days of this trip. If you're ever in the area, I would definitely make it a must-see excursion.

Ciao, Capri

So Chris and I took a ferry to the cute island of Capri. As soon as we arrived, we bought a ticket to tour the island and see the Blue Grotto.

The island is surrounded by beautiful, clear, greenish-blue water. The island itself is very chic. The lower part maybe not so much, but on the top, I was reminded of Rodeo Drive. Shops with photos of Jackie O., designer stores and jaw-dropping views, it was a great side trip.

Our favorite experience on the island had to be the Blue Grotto. From our island tour boat, we had to hop on a small rowboat and lay down in the boat to enter the grotto. Once our eyes adjusted it was unbelievable.

The water was a gorgeous royal blue hue. It was incredible. Chris and I were amazed that this entire sight was created solely by the sunlight and how it reflects within the cave.

So a short, but really fun day in Capri. A place I would not mind seeing again someday...
Chris and I in front of the opening to the Grotto

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sunny Sorrento

We arrived in Sorrento with a nasty surprise- the hotel we had booked could not locate our reservation and was fully booked. We showed our printed confirmation with proof of payment and that seemed to finally convince them we were telling the truth.

Thankfully, the hotel found us another option for our three-night stay and paid the difference. Even though I was disappointed to not have a say in where we were staying, I was thankful we had a place to lay our heads for a few days. That was a scary moment.

As for the rest of our stay, we found Sorrento to be quite cute! The city center had lots of little shops and restaurants so we did as the locals did- we shopped and ate. ;)

Sorrento is known for its lemons, inlaid wood and ceramics, along with the rest of the Amalfi Coast. The lemons in their area are huge! If you combined Chris's two fists, that would be about the size of the largest lemon we saw in person. After I load my photos, I'll post it so you can see that I am not exaggerating.

Sorrento is also where we had our first taste of lemon granitas. I've had coffee granitas before- in high school, they were my drink of choice junior and senior year- but had never had them in lemon. Talk about yuuuummmmy. I'm hooked!

Sorrento did not have much to do other than relax, stroll and just take in the sights, so that's exactly what we did. It's also a great place to make your home-base for day trips to other areas, so we visited the island of Capri (pronounced Cap-ree, not like Capri pants) one day and another in the partially buried ancient city of Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius (posts to be written). Now we're off to Positano!

The view from one of the lookout points

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sights, Sea and Sunsets in Santorini

Our stay in Santorini is now over so I wanted to recap our experience. Thanks to this Blogger app, I'm able to write my post as Chris drives us to our next destination, Sorrento, Italy.

On Wednesday, we left the charming island of Mykonos for the much-anticipated Santorini. I've seen so many beautiful pictures of the white, cliff-clinging buildings with their blue-domed churches sprinkled among them and could not wait to see them in person. But first, we had to get there...

We took the super jet ferry to Santorini, which was a faster, smaller vessel than the one we took to Mykonos. We didn't know, however, how much smaller and less comfortable this ride would be for us. They had us packed in like sardines and the luggage was packed so high, it actually blocked one of the isle exits. So, even though the first ferry took five hours over this two hour ride, I'd rather repeat the former.

Once our ferry docked, we were a little taken aback by the port as it was small and dilapidated. Thanks goodness we made a car reservation the night before because it was a little chaotic and somewhat seedy.

As we drove through the town of Fira (the largest town on the island), we started to question why we left Mykonos. But after 20 minutes of driving, we discovered Oia.

I did the research and found that Oia is the part of the island famous for its breathtaking views and stunning sunsets, so I made sure that would be our home base. After checking in, we made our way into town. Sadly, we missed the sunset, so we had to settle for strolling on the marble-paved pedestrian only streets.

The second day brought our catamaran ride. Neither of us had been on one before, so this was a completely new experience for us. For those of you who have never been on a catamaran, it's a boat that fits about 40 or so people and takes you around for a tour by water.

The first stop was to a natural hot springs near the volcano. Chris went over and took a dip but said it wasn't as hot as he expected. The second break was to the "red beach," named for its red sand (which resembles the reddish dirt in Oklahoma). The third and longest stop was to the "white beach," named, again, for its white sand.
Chris swimming near the Red Beach
This is where I actually got off of the boat and You read that correctly, friends. The water was so clear and blue, I couldn't resist the opportunity to experience it for myself. I am not a great swimmer, so I put on a life jacket and eased into the cold, but gorgeous sea.
Me in the big, blue sea
 The water was 15 to 20 feet deep, but I could see the bottom as though it was a foot or two below me. I loved the experience so much that Chris and I were the last ones to get out of the water. Then it was time for a picnic lunch on the boat before heading back to port.
Heading back to shore
After getting cleaned up, we made our way to the sunset point for a first-hand look at what some call "the best sunset in the world." Chris and I made our way through the crowds and over to sunset point. Below is what we saw (just a glimpse; the good photos on my camera, not phone).

The sunset really was amazing. Too bad there were hoards of people vying for the best spot because we couldn't get a perfectly unobstructed view. What we did see, however, was gorgeous.

Both Chris and I agree Mykonos offered a little more, which is why, if we had to choose between the two islands, it would win. But Santorini was an experience I will never forgot. That ends our Greek travels and now we're onto the next country, Italy!
The sun setting on Oia 
As the sun went down
The view from our room our first night
Our second night's room- it's a "cave room" :)
Our second night's room view

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mad for Mykonos

Ah, Mykonos. What a breath of fresh air. In comparison to Athens, our experience here was 50x better.

From the moment we stepped off the ferry, we were pampered. Our hotel came and picked us up from the port, gave us three rooms to choose from and made use feel special. The view from the room- well, you can see for yourself below- washed all of the Athens sadness away.

Other than me being a sickie, I have nothing but good things to say about our stay on the island. We had a wonderful dinner the first night, got plenty of rest and relaxation the second day, witnessed two amazing sunsets by the water and the windmills and enjoyed a quick trip to the island of Delos to end our stay.

A beautiful little getaway. My only regret is that I was still ill so I didn't have the energy I needed to make the most of our time. But what we did make time for was great and now we're off to Santorini!
The famous windmills
The island of Delos- one of our favorite spots so far (yes, we took this photo. We just edited it using Instagram)
The view from our room

Mugging on the Piraeus Express

To add to our grand old time in Athens, Chris and I witnessed a mugging on our way to the main port. It was fairly early (around 6:15 AM) when the whole thing went down.

We had left extra early that morning because of the ticket situation (Chris wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to secure them before our boat left at 7:30 AM). I actually had a thought that we were safe because all the thieves would be asleep (don't most muggers stay up late?).

It was pretty quiet until we changed lines to head to the Piraeus. We came upon quite a few tourists making the same trek as us so I knew this was prime pickpocket territory.

When we got on the metro, something compelled me to sit down, even though I had the two carry-ons with me and would block the path for other passengers. I thought, if they needed to sit, I could adjust the luggage, but still stay safe in my seat. Chris was manning the two large pieces so he had to stand. We were, unfortunately at the back of our metro cart- not the safest place.

Everything was fine, we made a couple of stops and picked up more travelers, one couple (about our age) from an Asian country (not exactly sure which). They were nice and spoke to one older Greek gentleman to ensure they were on the right train. They were clearly tourists, though; he had a fanny pack and they were both dressed for the beach.

A couple stops later, a group of guys got on the train. There was one larger fellow, in particular, that caught Chris' attention. He slid next to Chris and was directing his friends where to stand- not a good sign.

Chris made a point to shift over a bit and get closer to me. After, the larger guy moved closer to the Asian couple and then it happened.

It was all so fast! I looked over and saw a few of the guys pushing the Asian man against the wall and then it was over. There were a few older Greek men who started yelling at them and they responded back, but nothing really violent happened and the Asian couple was able to move away unharmed. The doors opened and the bad guys were off.

After they left, the older Greek man who had spoken to the couple when they first got on the train asked if they were okay. The woman gestured as though someone has grabbed her tush but that seemed to be it. The man asked the couple to check and make sure they had all of their belongings and that's when they noticed his fanny pack was open. The woman looked in and, sure enough, their money was gone.

Watching the aftermath was especially hard. That poor woman sobbed and wailed the entire way to the Port (which was another 15 minutes away). She lectured (rather loudly) her husband/boyfriend the entire time because of where he put the money. You didn't need to speak their language to know that she had suggested another location but he made the final choice, which proved to be a poor one. So I pointed it out to Chris- it's not just me or American women that harp on something over and over when they're upset- it's ALL women. ;)

Chris and I were lucky. This incident could have easily happened to us instead. I think they chose the other couple because they could use the woman as a distraction whereas I was sitting safely in a secure spot with others next to me to help if needed. Another reason I think they chose them was the fanny pack, which made him an easier target to pick off. Maybe it was Chris moving closer to where I was that saved him or maybe they noticed I was carrying a bag instead. Who knows.

What I do know is I'm so thankful this didn't happen to us. It shook us, though, and reminded us to stay alert. We may be on vacation, but there are bad people who aren't.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Athens, Anyone?

So our Athens stay is officially over. As I'm writing this, we are sitting on a ferry heading over to Mykonos.

Athens was a disappointment, to say the least. When we arrived, the metro was on strike, so getting to our hotel (via bus) took longer than necessary. One thing did go our way, though- we were able to check in and take a nap as soon as we got into the hotel.

I was still under the weather, so lack of sleep from late-night packing the night before and not sleeping well on the plane led to a very drained, sickly traveler. After a couple hours, we got up and made our way to pick up our ferry tickets for today's trip. Too bad their office was closed. Fine. We'll just check out the National Archeological Museum since it's nearby. Oh, that's right- it was closed, too. We decided to head back to our area and found something that WASN'T closed, the Acropolis Museum. We opted to grab our first Greek dinner, get to bed early and start fresh the next day.

Unfortunately, I woke up feeling worse than the day before so it wasn't the most ideal start. Then we found out the ferry ticket place was still closed. Greeeeaaat. Thankfully, the NAM was open so we saw that and then did the Athens Walking Tour Rick Steve's made and finally made our way to the Acropolis.

Rick Steve's suggested visiting the Acropolis either first thing in the morning or going two or three hours prior to closing because the weather is nicer and the site is less crowded. The hours showed in the book as open daily from 8:00 to 20:00 (8 PM) so we thought 5 PM would be the perfect time.

Wellll, as it turns out, the Greeks decided Sunday should be a day of rest and changed their closing time to 3 PM with last entrance at 2:30. So, when we arrived at 4:50 PM all we saw were other upset tourists.

The most important site in Athens went unseen. Complete devastation. I cannot fully describe my shock and disappointment. I am still rather touchy on this subject and probably will be for quite some time.

We managed to make the most out of the rest of our time and had a nice stroll in the Plaka area; we bought a few souvenirs and had a nice dinner at the famous restaurant steps before heading back to our hotel.

So all in all, Athens was not exactly what we hoped for, but it could've been much worse. I'm ready to see what the rest of the trip has in store for us...

Thursday, August 30, 2012


So this is the last day before our Euro Trip 2012. This year's vacation sort of crept up on us. Translation: we did little to prepare for this getaway.

Previously, we've had a better sense of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. This year, however, the destination was up for debate.

We've always wanted to visit Greece. In fact, we had initially planned to spend our honeymoon in that country. At the time, though, flights were twice as much as the flight to Spain so we chose the latter instead. Thankfully, the flights to Athens were fairly reasonable this year, so we decided to finally visit the great land of the Greeks.

So today has been quite an interesting one. Last night, I felt a little under the weather and when I awoke this morning it was worse. Chris spilled his large coffee all over his desk when he arrive at work and our living room TV sound isn't working. Awesome way to kick off vacation so far, right (insert sarcasm font here)?

Now I'm sitting here at the CareNow clinic hoping they can provide me with some relief. We'll see. Add this to all o the things I need to do to prepare for my two-week absence from work along with getting everything ready and packed for tomorrow's departure.

I don't know how well this trip is going to go. Hopefully, as my co-worker, Christina, pointed out, maybe all this is happening today so that everything else over the next two weeks will go smoothly. I hope she's right... :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Baby Bowie

My new "niece" has finally arrived! Miss Bowie Caroline made her debut this morning, weighing in at a healthy 7 pounds, 1 ounce. 

Over the19 years we have been friends, Jamie has been like a sister to me so I knew this day would be an emotional ride. Like most major events in your life, you aren't always quite sure what your reaction will be until the moment occurs. Well, I can honestly say, I was a bit surprised by the emotions I experienced. My reaction was that of extreme happiness, relief and a little sadness. 

I found myself  with tears of joy on more than one occasion today. I began reflecting upon our journey together as friends and it really hit me how far Jamie and I have come since first becoming friends in 7th grade. It's amazing how much we have grown and evolved over the years and where our lives have taken us since 1993. From tater-tot making and Koosh ball-slinging sleepovers, to singing together in choir and on the phone, to talking on the phone everyday, to experiencing first kisses and loves, to helping each other through heartbreaks, to working through silly arguments, to getting past feelings of being left behind, to being a part of each other's weddings, and now having babies, we have always managed to stay "best friends."  

It's amazing how life just starts to move at a pace that seems entirely too fast as we age. I still think of us back in our old bedrooms recapping our 8th grade days (since she and I went to different schools that year, we called each other everyday immediately when we got home from school- we were fiercely dedicated to maintaining our best friend status). Now she's a mother to a beautiful baby girl. And now I'm a little sad. 

Sad we're all grown up and can't go back to those simpler times. Sad that I wasn't there for this significant moment in Jamie's life. And sad that it will be a few weeks before I meet this new addition to our family. But sadness is the smallest of all my emotions today. I am relieved Jamie and baby are both healthy and the process went smoothly. But mostly, I am feeling great joy. I am completely in love with this little lady and elated she's here. 

What I've taken from today (and from most of these milestone moments), is you can't stop life from happening. We can't slow life down or make it wait until we're ready to move to the next chapter. Even though it's hard for me to fathom that my best friend is now a mother, it's official and we have this gorgeous girl to prove it. Bowie is the symbol that life goes on, it grows, it changes and every moment is one to cherish. Looking back brings great memories, but it can keep you from truly appreciating the present.

I'm so thankful for the past Jamie and I have shared as "sisters" but I am extremely excited about our future with Bowie joining us. :) Congratulations to Jamie and Andy on your little miracle! And welcome to the world, beautiful Bowie!

Aunt Jocelyn :)
Bowie's first weigh in.

Mommy and baby- happy, healthy and beautiful. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School

It's that time of the year again when all of the kiddos head back to school. I can still remember the anticipation and excitement of a new year and the idea of a fresh start. Thankfully, I can relive some of those feelings through my nieces and nephew. :)

 I simply cannot believe how quickly these kids have grown up. I still remember helping my mom change Julianne's diaper (first diaper change, p.s.) all those years ago. Now I've blinked and she's starting 5th grade.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we made our nieces and nephew little gifts and my sister-in-law was nice enough to capture the moment of them opening them for me to share-

The morning surprise!
Opening their treats. LOVE Kenzie's (the one on the right) face in this pic.
A girl after my own heart- opening the food first. ;)

They're now officially 2nd, 3rd and 5th graders. Jules is now in intermediate school and here's a shot of her and her dad with her first locker-
This picture made us tear up. She's so grown up now! 
We hope the kids have an amazing school year and continue to do their very best! "Make me an A today!"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo Book for the Bestie

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my best friend, Jamie, is due to have her daughter in less than a week now (according to her due date). I, along with her step-mother-in-law, Jill, and friend, Hannah, hosted a shower for her in San Antonio in July. 

I can't describe what a labor of love this shower was for me. Jamie has been the person I've called my best friend since we were in seventh grade. Since I've known her, she's never had any kind major celebration in her honor. Her birthday parties were always small, quiet affairs. Even her wedding was very low-key (simple ceremony at the JP and then a dinner for family and just a few friends). 

I wanted to make sure this shower was an event she would truly remember and, more importantly, feel special and loved. I think I accomplished what I set out to do, but only she knows for sure. ;)

Below is an album I made for the beautiful mom-to-be to have as a reminder of her special day. I decided to post it on the blog instead of adding the photos one-by-one. I hope you guys like it! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

What a Weekend

So this past weekend was quite whirlwind! We were go, go, go everyday so it made the whole weekend just zip right on by.

The craziness kicked off on Thursday when hubby's sis, her husband and three kiddos came in town and stayed with us for the night. The rest of his family (his mom, his middle sis, her husband and their son) joined us for dinner and dancing. Dancing was provided courtesy of Just Dance 3 on Wii. Our living room was the stage for a kid vs. adult dance off (which the adults won, by the way).

Friday was an errand evening for me and Chris. When we arrived home after work, it was already almost 8:30 PM. After that, I started making my nieces and oldest nephew a couple of back-to-school gifts. All the kids received a bag of Swedish Fish with a note saying "You're O-FISH-ally in ___ grade!" My oldest niece is headed to 5th grade (in her school district, 5th grade is at the intermediate level) so she'll have her first real locker. We decided to buy a mirror for her new space with a note that said, "Life is like a mirror- smile at it and it will smile back at you," along with a little note wishing her a great year. The other two are still in elementary, but we didn't want them to feel less important, so we gave them each a set of pencils saying, "You're so sharp," as well as a wish for an awesome year. We got the the fish and the pencil idea from Pinterest, so I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. ;) You would think making something like that wouldn't take very long, but we didn't finish everything until almost 1 AM. I'm so sad I forgot to take a photo, but I'll ask my sis-in-law for pics when she gives the gifts to the kids on their first day of school next week. :)

Saturday was our youngest nephew's 2nd birthday. He's a huge Toy Story fan so that was his party's theme this year. Since Chris and I were Woody and Jesse for Halloween in 2008, we decided to reprise our roles for this special occasion-
Chris and I with our smaller versions
Sadly, our little surprise did not go over so well with the birthday boy, but the other kids in the play park seemed to enjoy us. :) We had a few kids come over and talk to us and a couple people ask to take photos. It was definitely a fun, memorable experience and we're both glad we did it.

I took some photos of the party and will hopefully post them here soon. Happy 2nd birthday, Jack! :)

After the party, we made our way over to Great Wolf Lodge, a family indoor waterpark resort, to continue our family time.

We started out in the cabana his sis rented by the pool and then Chris went to play pool basketball with our oldest nephew while I hung with our nieces and watched them collect bubbles in the hot tub.Unfortunately, a storm hit our area, so we had to head indoors. This just gave us time for the MagiQuest with the kids. This particular adventure has taken them three visits at Great Wolf to complete. But, in order to finish the adventure, you must defeat the dragon-
Chris and Julianne making their first attempt
After our quest, we had a couple more hours of quality time. We ate, laughed and rapped (yes, you read that correctly) before Chris and I headed home.

Sunday brought a brunch date with the Linvilles. We met Angeleque, Hunter and Hunter's parents at one of our favorite haunts, Oddfellows. We love seeing Hunter's parents because they're such warm, sweet people who are just nice to be around. :)

As an added bonus, we got to meet up with our friend, Suzanne, and brave the crowds at the mall during tax-free weekend. For all the hype, it really wasn't that crowded this year. And after a long day, we ended it with a quick trip to Velvet Taco for my new favorite snack, corn cups-
So that was our crazy, full-of-fun, exhausting weekend. It was fun, but now is time for rest. Have a great week, all!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Surprise

Today, I was the lucky recipient of a sweet surprise gift from my best friend, Jamie. She and I have been official "best friends" since the 7th grade. We have gone through so much over the past few years, but Jamie is about to embark on a new chapter in her life: motherhood. As her best friend, I, of course, wanted to throw her the perfect baby shower (which you'll see later when I finally get around to uploading the photos). As a thank you, she sent me this-
Seriously, how cute is that? A whole package filled with uber-fun goodies. I have to admit, this put me in the best mood today and made me smile from ear-to-ear. My dear friend is about two weeks away from her due date, so the fact that she made the time to go out and get all of this, pack it up and ship it to me in her current state made it all the more special. Thanks, Jamie, for this amazingly thoughtful gift!
Besties and the "bump"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Old Habits

So obviously old habits die hard. I guess you could call neglecting this blog a bad habit, right? So I must apologize (as I have every year since launching this blog three years ago) for not writing more like I promised  in January. Not that this is a great excuse, but life has been a little hectic. For what it's worth, I have thought about blogging...I just haven't sat down and actually done it.
Well, fear not, friends! I'm back and ready to write (I hope). I've been up to quite a bit and will share a few of this year's past events soon. For now, I just wanted to say hello and let you know I'm still alive and able to write.
Be back sooooon!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Operation Renovation- 2012

So this past week was a first for us- our first home renovation! We painted a few rooms and added wallpaper last year, but we haven't made any major changes (like cutting into walls!) since we purchased our home. Like most people who buy a house they didn't design, we have had a few things we wanted to improve since we moved in. One of the first places we wanted to make a change was in our master bathroom. Here is what it looked like Wednesday morning:
As you can see, we had quite a few items sitting on the vanity simply because it was the only storage available in the room. We have another cabinet, but it's filled with towels and is not the most convenient place to house toothbrushes and face products…since it's over the toilet. ;) Chris and I decided medicine cabinets would be the perfect solution to this issue. Here's a photo of our bathroom one more time, but without anything in it-
So Wednesday morning at 9:30 AM, the work began. Chris was able to work from home so he could supervise and document the progress. Here are a couple of shots of the work being done-
Cutting into the wall for the medicine cabinets
Prepping for the new ceiling light
We also had work done in the upstairs guest bathroom and added a few outlets throughout the house as well. Here is a before shot of the guest bathroom before and while it was worked on-

The work continued into Thursday and Chris was able to continue to work from home. Unfortunately, the work was not completed as planned and spilled into Friday. Thankfully Christopher's sis, our brother-in-law and nephew were able to monitor the work for us since we couldn't stay home ourselves. I have to say, even though the project went fairly smoothly, the whole process was still stressful. I am SO glad the job is done and happy to report the outcome was (almost) exactly how we envisioned. Here are the end results-

Master bath
Guest Bath
I say the outcome was almost exactly as envisioned because we discovered we need a double sconce in the master instead of the single in between the medicine cabinets and we will need a little more work on the upstairs bath wall texture in a couple of spots. Nothing major, though, so overall we are very pleased with the results. We are relieved our first contractor experience was not a poor one and are better prepared for the next time…because there will be a next time. ;)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Hearts

Yesterday was, what many refer to as, the "most romantic day of the year." I like the fact that there's a day dedicated to expressing love to those in your life…even if you should be doing that on a daily basis. ;) And I don't think it needs to just be a significant other's love celebrated, but those important to you as well (Chris and I sent Valentine's to all of our family members to remind them we love them, too).

This year, I decided to surprise my wonderful hubby with a little something sweet at his office. I ordered a dozen Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes and delivered them to him during my lunch hour. Here's my handsome hub with his Valentine's day treat-
Not the best angle of my Valentine (in his opinion), but you can see his gift.
Bundtinis! White chocolate and red velvet- Christopher's two favorite flavors.
Of course, Chris knows the key to my heart is my stomach and he brought home these fabulous desserts from one of my favorite Dallas bakeries-
Since Valentine's fell on a Tuesday, Chris and I decided we would rather pick up dinner (ordered to-go from Brio) and celebrate the evening together at home. To be honest, even is Valentine's fell on a weekend, I don't think I would have wanted to celebrate it any other way. I am so thankful for my amazingly charming, thoughtful, sweet, handsome, caring, funny Valentine and could not imagine being any luckier.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's day! And, as I wished all my friends on Facebook, I think it's important to remind everyone- whether you're in a relationship or not, you are loved. :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Veggie Tale

So, as of late September, Chris and I have made the choice to no longer eat meat. It all started with a photo I took of Shamrock on my phone. He was laying on his back and had his legs in the air. In this particular photo, his little back legs resembled chicken wings! At that moment, it struck me and this picture sums it up-
I immediately began doing research on how to become a vegetarian and what steps I needed to take to do so. After reading a few articles, I called Chris and informed him of my decision and explained my rationale. Of course, being the amazing hubby he is, Chris promised to support me. I did not intend to stop eating meat "cold-turkey" initially. However, once that realization hit me, I no longer wanted to eat another animal. After a few days, Chris joined me in this journey and we've been meat-free since. To be clear, I'm not sharing this to convert anyone to vegetarianism. This blog is a window to our life and, since September, this has been a big change in our lives so I wanted to share. I do not know if this choice will become a permanent one, but, when I see the photo above, I certainly hope it does.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It All Started With a Question

12 years ago, Chris asked me something no other guy (outside of elementary school) had ever asked me. That very question was, "Will you be my girlfriend?" It was such a sweet moment. Me being me, however, I couldn't help but laugh because it was so unexpected. Not that I didn't see us being exclusive, I just didn't anticipate him actually asking me to be his girlfriend. It was almost as if he asked if I wanted to go steady. ;)  I, obviously, said yes and the rest is history. I love celebrating this anniversary, almost more than our wedding anniversary since this is where it all began. I will always cherish the moment that skinny, funny guy asked me to be his girlfriend in my dorm room…and then headed to Mexico with his fraternity. Yup, true story. At least I knew he wouldn't do anything silly. After all, he was my boyfriend. ;) Happy 12 years together, babe! I love you! :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Birthdays

Before January 2012 is over, we wanted to take a moment to wish Christopher's sis, Jamie Jo, and his mommy, Christine, a very happy belated birthday! We weren't able to celebrate Jamie's birthday with her, but we know she had an amazing time with her hubby and kiddos. :) We were, however, able to celebrate Chris's mom's birthday with her on Friday. We started the night with a movie (Man on a Ledge) and then had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. We hope these two special ladies had a wonderful birthday and we are so glad we could celebrate with at least one of you. ;) Love you!
Christopher's mommy and her birthday cheesecake

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year, New Logo

So Chris and I have been calling ourselves "J&C Photography" since I first began taking photos in 2009. Since then, however, we discovered another person (in my hometown of all places) has a business with the same name. Unacceptable. :( We knew we had to make a change, but I've been hesitant. Hesitant because I love that our first name represented us both as the duo we are and I like how it sounds when we say it (it rhymes and who doesn't like to say things that rhyme?). However, we finally decided it was time to say goodbye to J&C and hello to Jo.
We wanted something with my name, but not just my name and we thought this had the whimsical feel we were looking for.  The font/design of the logo is something we're still tweaking, but for now this is it! Hope you guys like it! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Where Did 2011 Go?

Happy new year, my friends! I hope everyone had a fun (and safe) time ringing in 2012! 

So another year has come and gone and I would like to take a moment to recap what happened in 2011 (especially since I was such a HORRIBLE blogger). So many amazing times this year, so I thought I should highlight a few in order by month:
January brought us a snowfall that we, Texans, are not accustomed to seeing. This (unlike pretty much everything else), was nicely documented on the blog, which you can see here
In February, Chris and I celebrated 11 years as a couple. Still sounds strange to say out loud, and even more so that in a month we'll be celebrating 12 years. Woooooooow. 
In March, our one and only son, Shamrock, turned 8~ 
I never tire of looking at that adorable face...
April marked our second Easter at Chateau J&C. I cannot wait for the day the rest of my family makes the trip to celebrate a holiday at our home...or at least come visit. :)
With my parents on Easter Sunday
In May, we, along with my parents, went to the Big 12 baseball tournament in Oklahoma City to cheer on our Horns. 
Chris and I didn't take a photo, but here's one of my parents rooting for the Horns
June was somewhat uneventful. I say that because neither Chris nor I can recall anything of interest occurring...oops. :)
July was my Dad's big 60th birthday. My mom decided to throw a 60's themed surprise party. She did an amazing job keeping the entire bash from him and we managed to stay hidden until the party so everything was a total surprise. This was a huge milestone birthday and I'm so glad Chris and I were able to help my Dad celebrate.
My fab family- 60s style
August was a busy month! It kicked off with our 3rd wedding anniversary. We celebrated by finishing up our trip planning/bookings (more info on our trip below).
Our next August event was a bridal shower for my beautiful friend, Ryan. I, along with her sis and another friend, hosted the soiree. Here's a shot of the hostesses with beautiful bride-to-be~
You can't see the decor or food, but it was so cute
The next big event was our nephew, Jack's, first birthday. Another milestone birthday Chris and I were lucky to be a part of this year. How cute is this little guy?!
Someone got a big kick out of his birthday cake
To cap off a crazy August, Chris and I set off on our annual Euro trip! We started in romantic Prague, moved on to Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck in Austria (all beautiful!), made a stop in Germany for a day to see Neuschwanstein Castle and then headed to Switzerland. We stopped in Zermatt to try to see the Matterhorn, spent some time in charming Lauterbrunnen, made our way to see Jungfraujoch, enjoyed peaceful Lucerne and wrapped up our Swiss trip in Zurich. We made a pit stop in Amsterdam for a night and then flew back to the States on September 11th. Chris and I loved our time in Europe and hope to return later this year. :)- Fingers crossed!
Chris on the famous Charles Bridge in Prague
Chris and I in the gardens of Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna 
Chris atop Geireck peak on the Untersberg Mountain in Austria
At Neuschwanstein Castle
Showing my disappointment with our detour to Zermatt.
The weather conditions kept the Matterhorn hidden behind clouds the entire time we were there. :(
One of the cutest places we've ever stayed- Lauterbrunnen
 Our hotel room had a balcony looking out to the main waterfall (the one shown in this pic)
On the "Top of Europe"- the peak at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland
Feeding the swans in Lucerne
Overlooking Zurich with my favorite travel buddy
Amsterdam's "fun" area ;)
Chris took another trip in September, but this time for work. He was able to semi-explore the rainy city of Seattle. It was just a quick jaunt, but he was able to visit what our dear friend Bruce refers to as "the mothership"~
Chris at the very first Starbucks at Pike Place
October 1st was the big day for our friends, Ryan and Rusty. Chris and I were the official photographers, making this our official first wedding gig. It was a nerve-racking time for both of us (you don't want to be the people responsible for ruining someone's wedding memories), but it was worth it in the end to see our amazing friends get their happily ever afters. Here's a shot of the cute couple~
November is my birthday month. Chris treated me to a day of pampering and indulgence (I had at least five different birthday desserts including a pumpkin soufflé). The celebration continued into the weekend when we met my parents in Austin to see a Longhorns football game.
Cheering on our Horns against K State…too bad it wasn't enough. ;)
December is Chris's b-day month. We celebrated his special day hanging out with his family and watching football…just like he wanted. :)
My handsome hubby his family (missing his older sis)
December is also my Mommy's birthday month and she, like my Dad, turned the big 6-0 this year. I was able to convince them to come up here to celebrate and my Dad and I did our best to make this milestone one of her all-time favorites. So grateful I was able to spend this amazing day with my wonderful mother who, by the way, looks sensational for 60. :)
As soon as the clock struck midnight, we celebrated 60 years of greatness :)
And lastly, we spent our holidays in C.C. (as usual). We were fortunate enough to spend quality of time with BOTH sides of our families and had a fantastic time doing it. :)
Our annual Christmas photo in front of my parents' fireplace
 So, as I type this, I completely understand how 2011 whizzed by- our year was jam-packed! My one crisis (or what I considered a crisis) was when my external hard drive crashed and I lost all of our images over the last two years (which included all of our Europe trips). And if that's the worst thing to happen to us over a year, I'll take it. :)

I hope you all had a wonderful 2011 and that 2012 is eeeeeeeeven better. :) 
  Oh, and I promise I'll be updating the blog more than last year. Shouldn't be too difficult. ;)