Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Full House

We recently had a very full house! Nick's dad (Mike), brother (CJ), sister (Melissa) and her husband (Todd) and kiddos (Olivia and Emma) all came to visit!

We had a lot of fun...

Playing in the backyard

Picnic and wine tasting at Testarossa!

And, playing in the sand at Testarossa, too!

Exploring San Francisco...

Checking out the piers...

Fisherman's Wharf...

Chocolate at Ghirardelli!


Chowin' down on some chowdah.

A visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium...

Looking for sharks...

Spotting sea lions...

Bocce ball in the backyard

And, my favorite night: 
alfresco family dinner
It was a quintessential gorgeous California evening!

The girls were the highlight of the trip... they are so smart and sweet and adorable. They have gotten so big so fast! (It seems like just yesterday Olivia was the flower girl in our wedding and not that long ago that we were in Seattle for Emma's baptism!) I LOVED playing with them in the backyard... looking for lady bugs, watching how fast they ran and finding treasures (rocks, sticks, flowers... you know).

I still chuckle out loud thinking about when Todd told the girls (jokingly, of course) that he was going to spray them with the hose if they didn't settle down. He walked over to the hose and turned the knob and before we even heard the water spraying on the ground Emma (the younger one) had sprinted all the way across the yard like lightning. She moved so fast we couldn't even believe it! She did not want to get sprayed and she did not hesitate one second to see if Dad was bluffing! I seriously couldn't run that fast if I tried. Lordy, I am in tears just thinking about her little legs carrying her that fast. What a smart and savvy little munchkin!

I am lucky to be a part of this amazing family and so happy that they all came to visit!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Week in South Texas.

When I told my California friends and coworkers that I was going back home to Texas for a week, most of them pictured something like this...

Cows in the street and cowboy boots and barbeque and open pastures in the middle of nowhere...

Which is definitely true in some parts of the state.

(And, that's one reason why its the greatest state ever!)

But, when I was in Texas for vacation with Nicholas this April, this is actually where we spent our time...
Ahhhh.... yes, believe it or not, Texas has a coastline!!

We spent a week on South Padre Island with my parents at their condo. I grew up spending summers on the beach and (if my blog archives are correct) we hadn't visited since July 2011.
(My hometown, La Feria, is about half an hour inland.) 
I hadn't seen my family in over 6 months, so it was so great to spend some good ol' quality time with my parents and my older brother, Allen.

^^Just landed in Texas at DFW airport and immediately found some Mexican food!

^^View of the bay from the balcony

We even got to spend some time with the doggies...
^^Misty, my brother's dog who lives with my parents.

^^And, Pepper. 
The sweetest fishing dog there is. 
She just LOVES to come on the boat with us!

^^ Pepper... "Nope, I'm not on the couch, this is just a blanket"

^^Enjoying a little glass of wine on the balcony.

 Most of our time was spent out on the water, fishing for trout. Catching is way more fun that fishing ... and we had a lot of FUN! I was on fire the last day and caught 6 keepers! My dad is the best captain and fishing guide there is, so he makes it easy for me! He gets the lure set up, tells me where to cast, take my fish off the hook and even fillets all the fish for us! Not sure I'd like fishing so much any other way!

 ^^Please ignore my crazy hair... a little saltwater and a lot of wind aren't working in my favor here!!

^^Trout in the ice chest!

We sure ate our share of fresh seafood. Trout Veracruzana, fried gulf shrimp, Trout Almondine... all scrump-diddly-umptious!. Some of the restaurants down there let you bring in your own fish and they cook it up however you'd like. So, after a tiring day of fishing, you can let someone else do the work while you relax with a glass of wine (or tequila)!

^^Fried Shrimp!

^^ Our trout cooked up at a restaurant.

We spent some time on the beach, too! Clayton's is a new (since I've lived in South Texas) beach bar with a huge deck and yummy beach cocktails!

We ended up staying an extra night because strong winds delayed our flight and we wouldn't have made our connection in DFW. Our last night, we went back to La Feria and ate good Mexican food before flying back to CA the next morning.

We froze some of the trout and brought it back to San Jose with us. We've been cooking it up a little at a time.... yummy!

Biggest FAIL of the trip... no group pictures. Dangit!! 

Love you, Mom and Dad... thanks for having (and spoiling!) us!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Backyard Birthday Party!

For my birthday, Nicholas and I celebrated with our amazing friends at our home. We actually had a little rain the morning of the party... which had me on edge until about 3:00 when the sun came out and the rest of the day was gorgeous!

We played cornhole in the backyard and I served Pulled Pork Tacos, this yummy Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad and Palomas! 

After our grocery run...

Fresh flowers and strawberry shortcake from Flower Flour in Willow Glen...

Such an adorable shop and an clever concept... bakery and florist in one!

I forgot to take pics of the set up until after people started showing up...

One thing that we didn't count on was the abundance of tiny little wisteria flowers falling from the arbor. We had to keep the food covered with saran wrap to prevent flowers from getting in all the food! Oh well, we made it work.

My favorite guy...

Cole hole tourney...

My birthday would not have been the same without these lovely ladies from work...
{Chelsea, Ashley, Jana, me and Annie}

My new drink of choice: Palomas!

So happy these pretties came to celebrate with me!
{Courtney, Alyssa, me, Kristin, and Allison}

And then it was time for cake!

I honestly feel so lucky to have met such wonderful people over the last couple of years in California. Not only am I thankful to have had another healthy, happy year with Nicholas by my side, but I have amazing new friends surrounding me, too!