A Merry Christmas Was Had By All

December 28, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, the kids at Jamie's for a couple days.  Joanna and I are going out to listen to music and eat dinner, and otherwise have a quiet evening.  We've been getting a lot of post-engagement congratulations.  Joanna's dad even sent a note that it was about time I made an honest woman of her.  Good times.

The trip back from San Francisco was fairly uneventful.  We hung about our B&B until late morning, then wandered over to Sam's Diner near civic stadium.  The blueberry pancakes were simple but good, my last real meal of the day.  Next was the BART to the airport, and waiting about until our flight to Portland.  We drove back, collapsing Christmas Eve with cereal and bed.

Christmas morning was very quiet, with no kids in the house and Joanna sleeping in.  I wrapped presents, put on Christmas music, and tidied up.  Joanna and I made ourselves a leisurely breakfast and the kids arrived a little after noon.  We opened presents and began preparations for the family dinner.  Later that night we'd donned paper crowns and were digging into the massive turkey Joanna baked (well, sweet potatoes and fresh dinner rolls for me).

After I got Emma to bed with plenty of snuggles, Joanna, Sam, and I watched the Doctor Who Christmas special and went to bed.

The next couple days were leisurely and relaxing.  Sam still has a bad cough, and we kept him on all his assorted medications.  Emma and I did a brief bike riding lesson on Monday.  We played each of our new board games.  Sam and I played a bunch of video games with Matt and Josh.  There was lots of relaxing and simply enjoying the time together.  Last night Emma and I had a daddy dinner date at PF Changs, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

And I finally put together a movie from San Francisco.  There's no video of the proposal, but it gives a pretty good sense of the places we wandered around to.

We're off!

December 27, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

We're off to the airport in an hour.  Hanni flies out at noon, and we don't leave until 3pm, so we'll likely hang out in ABQ for awhile.

We'll see you all soon!!!!!

and to all a good night!

December 25, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Merry Christmas all!

We are in the post present lull.  All of us are in our new clothes, and playing with our new toys. 
We can't wait to see you all soon!

Adventure Time!

December 24, 2011 by Adam in Family

I'm posting from a new bed in a new room down the hall from our old one. The heater died in the rose-themed room, so we asked to be moved and ended up in a rainforest-themed room.  There are no windows, but instead the walls are covered in a photorealistic forest wallpaper.  Joanna has slipped into my pirate boxers and donned long nautical socks from 826 Valencia, the pirate store.  She's finished her milk steamer and playing her train game on Facebook.  I got her beverage from the downstairs cafe while regaling the young women with tales of rings and proposals, getting a simultaneous "awww" out of them.  Good times.  The best part of the new room is that it's nearly silent, the street life of Haight a distant memory.

We're completely spent for the day, having traveled nearly everywhere across San Francisco.  The day began a little late, as we were both tired from our night at the show.  I had a tasty egg sandwich with lots of coffee in the cafe, and we planned out the day on the purple netbook.

The goddess of the muni favored us, and we found ourselves traveling towards Fisherman's Wharf.  We got out in the financial district and found a Walgreens to procure bandages for Joanna's ankle, which was sore from walking.  We meandered through markets, picking up a hat to keep Joanna's noggin warm, and found ourselves in the ferry terminal.  There was Christmas music and a view of Alcatraz.  Joanna found a gluten-free pastry store, and I had my mocha for the day.

Eventually we boarded a trolley and moved towards Pier 39.  It was the consummate tourist trap, and we shopped and ate our way through.  Pushing onward, we headed to the Musee Mechanique, where Joanna impressed me with her Ms Pacman skills.  I marveled at the old mechanical amusement park machines, and some of the relatively modern devices like Pong.

Our journey continued at Ghirardelli Square, getting free samples thrust on us, and we boarded a bus to the Castro district.  Our first stop was Paxton gate, where we marveled at the odd wonders, then we meandered into 826 Valencia's pirate store.  At this point we were exhausted, so we crashed on the bus to the hotel, went out for sushi, and have resolved to do nothing of importance for the rest of the night.

Accidental Adventures

December 23, 2011 by Adam in Family

We had a range of assorted adventures yesterday.  Our first night sleeping in the middle of San Francisco was a little noisy, as Haight and Ashbury has quite the night life.  Both nights someone has decided to scream as loud as possible at four in the morning.

Breakfast was low-key in the cafe downstairs, oatmeal with bottomless coffee and tea.  The shops hadn't opened up, but we hit the post office to send out post cards, and walked over to Golden Gate park to the Conservatory of Flowers.  It was an ornate building of steel and glass, built nearly a hundred years ago.  They had rooms holding tropical trees, cool high-elevation orchids, aquatic plants, and finally a room with a train set and dozens of kids.  At the turn of the last century, there used to be an amusement park called Playland nearby, and they had magic mirrors, fortune telling machines, and a bumper car on display.

We headed off to catch the muni to the Golden Gate Bridge.  I kept getting stopped by tourists to take their picture, one of the consequences of my honest face.  We walked a third of the way and turned back, as it was quite windy and cold.  The plan was to return to the hotel and relax, but fate intervened.

We hopped on a bus that ended up going a completely different direction.  It stopped at Fort Mason and the bus driver announced "end of the line," hopped out, and drove away in a car.  We sat there for a little while, then went out to explore.  Our phones directed us to a restaurant called Greens, which ended up being exceptionally good.  We took a picture and thanked Yayoe for buying it for us (she gave us a $50 bill for the trip).  Afterward, we wandered into a store for the Long Now, which plans to build a massive, mechanical 10,000 clock off in the Texas mountains.  It seemed uniquely San Francisco.

We did manage to make it back to the hotel, where we took it easy for a couple hours before heading out for the night.  We got to the Orpheum in plenty of time, had Thai food for dinner, visited the San Francisco library and Starbucks, then headed in to watch Bring It On.

Going to see a show seemed the thing to do, and as it was a little expensive, I was worried it wouldn't live up to expectations.  I was wrong.  It was over-the-top, the most physical musical I've ever seen.  There were moving giant screens, light shows, hysterically funny dialog, and throwing cheerleaders twenty feet into the air.  It had underdogs, comically evil villains, and references to The Grateful Dead.  It was quite the show.

We made it back to our quirky B&B, quiet at eleven o'clock, and went straight to bed.

The Proposal

December 22, 2011 by Adam in Family

It was a close call.

We took Colette's ring to Goldworks months ago, thinking it was going to be a straightforward thing.  The plan was to use Colette's diamond in a new engagement ring.  I wanted Joanna involved with the ring planning, as she was stuck wearing it forever.  The actual proposal time and place remained a mystery to her.

Unfortunately that fell apart when they lost the ring, time passed, and they miraculously found it a couple weeks ago.  We immediately went to Skeie's, found a ring we liked, made some changes to it, and off went the stone to Texas to make a new ring.  It arrived the day before we left, and I quietly slipped away from work to pick it up.

We were all ready to go on our grand trip to San Francisco yesterday, when the airline canceled the flight.  Fortunately Joanna worked her magic and we ended up back at the Red Victorian after dinner.  We watched a Glee episode, and I realized I still had an hour to go before the moment of winter solstice.  Fortunately it was quite easy to talk about mushy things for that time, each of us getting a little teary eyed.

Though she was getting suspicious about my continuous checking of the clock, and there were plenty of jokes about the serenading clowns that were about to arrive, I managed to make it to the appointed alignment of the planets, got down on one knee, and popped the question.

We had so much fun that we may have to go around San Francisco to various landmarks, proposing each time.

The Red Victorian

December 22, 2011 by Adam in Family

We made it to the Red Victorian in San Francisco.  There's a bustling street life outside our window.  We're unpacking, charging phones, and getting ready to go out to dinner.

It's been quite the exciting day, and Joanna has repeatedly risen to the occasion.  We got up early, fed Duncan and Berry crepes and bacon, then Kevin came to pick them up for their adventure.  Sam woke up, still fairly sick, and we got ready for our trip.

Shortly before leaving, we got an automated cal that our flight had been canceled and we couldn't leave until tomorrow.  I called, they did nothing for me, and then Joanna called.  Clearly she has more chutzpa than I, as she was able to find a flight from Portland that got us there in a reasonable amount of time.  So we fed Sam, bid him farewell, and headed to Portland.  It was a little tense, but we got there with enough time, and soon we were relaxing on a flight to California.

Getting to the hotel was exciting, but we managed to take the Bart and Muni, only having to walk a few blocks.  The Red Victorian was quiet inside, were two laid-back desk people informed us of the bottomless coffee and tea, and pointed us in the direction of the room.  Up two dark stairs, we settled in, ready to begin our San Francisco adventure.

Christmas #1

December 19, 2011 by Adam in Family

We had a full weekend with all the kids, starting Friday night and running non-stop until this morning.  I can always tell when we have a full house, based on the number of dishwasher loads per day.

Our first Christmas was Saturday morning.  Duncan was really excited to open things, but I made him wait until everyone was up.  I sipped my mocha, as presents were passed out.  My mom arrived with stockings for Berry and Duncan.  The amount of goodies was fairly staggering.  Emma loved her Minecraft sword in all its foam pixely glory.  Duncan and Berry instantly glued themselves to their Nintendo DSes.

The rest of the day was fairly low-key, especially as Sam and Emma started getting sick.  Emma and I went to the library.  Sam, Joanna, and I played Settlers of Catan.  I went to the grocery store to stock the larder.  The day wrapped up with pizza and Mythbusters.

Sunday was equally quiet.  After a hearty breakfast of crepes and sausages, Joanna took Berry and Duncan to church.  Duncan was a wise man and Berry an angel in their performance.  Joanna lit candles.  I took the kids for a walk to Metropol, with a treat at the end.  Sam, Emma, and I played assorted games - Munchkin, The Last Day on Earth, and Trine 2.  Sam played chess with Duncan, who was quite good according to Sam.  I finally got around to installing Sam's new hard drive, which he loaded up with games.

Sam and Emma were both getting increasingly sicker as the day went on.  After coordinating with Jamie, it sounds like Sam's staying at my house for the next few days, and Jamie and Emma are going to the beach.

The next few days should be fairly low-key.  Joanna's taking Berry and Duncan to have dinner with Kevin Tuesday night.  Hopefully it makes the transition easier.  I need to make sure Joanna and I have our trip plans all together.  I'm starting to get excited to have "adult time", as Berry called it this morning.

Life's busy, but fun.

Pre-Christmas Mocha

December 16, 2011 by Adam in Family

I finished my mocha on this relatively quiet Friday at work.  I've gotten all my critical work done, and now I'm down to the "nice to do" list.  The holidays tend to be fairly subdued, as people are off and about.

Wednesday night Joanna and I went out to sushi and the bookstore, where I once again discovered just how much I like browsing books.  Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity, with Emma arriving for dinner, Duncan's playdate wandering off, and everyone but Sam going off to Berry's winter recital.  Berry did a great job singing, and had not a lick of nervousness.

Tonight is our "Family Christmas Eve" in preparation for Family Christmas tomorrow.  The kids will be exchanging gifts with each other and everyone will be able to open up a little something. 

I'm getting excited for our upcoming trip to San Francisco, trying to come up with lists of things to do and places to go.  I doubt we'll get to it all, but we'll have fun trying.

Christmas Trees and Sugar Cookies

December 13, 2011 by Adam in Family

I put together a little video from the weekend activities.

Sam had a touch of nausea yesterday and I picked him up from school.  He slept all day, perked up by dinner time, and was quite cheerful this morning.

What is Lost is Sometimes Found

December 12, 2011 by Adam in Family

The jewler just called.  Colette's ring has magically appeared, found in a catalog they never use.  We're off to pick it up this afternoon.

Christmas Preparations Complete

December 12, 2011 by Adam in Family

Since next weekend is our family Christmas, we had to get everything ready.  Presents were wrapped, trees were decorated, and cookies were baked.  All systems go.

Friday night we had a rousing game of Apples to Apples with the kids, but otherwise took it easy.  Saturday morning we picked up my mom and headed to her farm.  We picked out a tree, and proceeded to explore the woods.  It was admittedly quite magical, with light streaming in and mushrooms growing everywhere.  Joanna found a couple sleds that she scavenged.  Eventually we returned to cut down the tree and strap it to the roof as the kids sipped hot chocolate.

Returning home, we decorated while listening to Christmas music.  I ran off to the library and store, then returned to Joanna breaking out sugar cookies for painting.  As the day wrapped up, and kids got to bed, I finished folding clothes and Joanna continued knitting as we watched Doc Martin on Netflix.

Sunday morning was crepes and bacon, with french toast for Joanna and I.  Joanna went off with Berry and Duncan to a birthday party.  Emma and I made a terrarium in an ornament for the tree.  Sam arrived, and we all played Trine 2 for awhile, which was zany fun.  I helped Emma with her school presentation, and we were generally low-key for the rest of the day.  More cookies were frosted and presents were wrapped.

I had a good parenting moment with Sam and his poetry assignment.  He started off hating it, nearly storming out of the room.  I pulled him back in and somehow turned it into a lot of fun.  He had to write something to a Christmas tune and we settled on turning Frosty the Snowman into an Aquaman-themed poem, laughing all the way.

This morning we took kids to school and listened to Christmas music.  They were cute and funny and pleasant.  Life is good.

Mocha Friday

December 09, 2011 by Adam in Family

Joanna's off at some work-related networking thing this morning, so I hauled Berry, Emma, and Duncan to their respective schools, Christmas music playing the entire time. Everyone was in a cheerful mood, somewhat in contrast with a the cranky children of last night. I think I jinxed it by saying out loud that I hadn't had a chance to drink anyone's Tears of Suffering in ages.  Berry was up well past her bedtime, and I finally plopped her in bed around nine.  Duncan woke up a little after midnight.  Emma was up early around five thirty.  On the plus side, there were no wet beds (Berry explained that she "double peed" before bedtime).

Joanna and I had a hot date night on Wednesday, going to a work event at the old Sacred Heart Hospital (now University District). The sisters were there, as well as our CEO, Alan Yordy. It was surprisingly nostalgic for me, and I recognized a lot of people, due to being around for so many years. We snuck out early to get back to Jessica and the kids.

Sam has resolved to become a programmer, so I've begun teaching him the basics of how it all works. I came to realize that while I could make a game faster than him, that's not the point. It's far more rewarding to see him progress with a useable skill in any case.

I'm completely shocked that Christmas is coming at us so quickly.  Packages continue to arrive, though I'm down to one more thing to purchase.  Tomorrow we're getting a Christmas tree and next weekend is our family Christmas before Berry and Duncan go.  After that, we scatter to the winds - Berry and Duncan go to Rochester, Sam and Emma go to the beach and Portland with their mom, and Joanna and I take a trip to San Francisco.  It'll be wild and wacky until January, I suspect.

Mid-Week Update

December 07, 2011 by Adam in Family

I put together a quick video of the weekend - swimming, Emma reading Christmas stories to Berry and Duncan, and the arrival of the new gerbil.

The week so far has been uneventful.  The ring saga continues slowly, and continues to frustrate me.  Sam's new elective is painting, which he's okay with.  We've been planning our new video game, and had an informal meeting last night.

Tonight we're going to dinner and hob-nobbing with our CEO and five of the sisters.  I may have to wear a tie.

Busy Weekend

December 05, 2011 by Adam in Family

Our schedule was remarkably full this weekend, with only a few hours here and there for relaxation time.  Still, it was generally productive and things were crossed off lists.

Friday night Joanna and I went out to dinner and dancing.  We went to Willamalane's Dancin' By The River event.  We were the youngest couple there by far, we picked up a little waltzing, and laughed maniacally under the disco ball more than once.

Emma arrived Saturday morning and a hearty breakfast was put together for all.  We went to the library, and Joanna ran off to get her haircut while I made lunch for everyone.  Next was to Sheldon pool where we were nearly the only people there.  Emma, Joanna, and I all tried the diving board.  Duncan started to get more comfortable swimming around with a life jacket.

Emma and I brought out the Christmas lights and hung them up in the front yard.  She excitedly set up the reindeer that my mom got for us on sale last year.  After a short break, we went food shopping and restocked our larders for the week.

I picked up Sam late morning and took all the kids to a secret project for Joanna.  They had a decent time and I made crepes and sausages for lunch upon our return.  Joanna, Berry, and Duncan went off to get a new gerbil.  Strawberry returned and it turns out she's the alpha gerbil in the cage.  We put up more Christmas decorations and started to get ready for the family dinner.

Sam and I managed to get some gaming time in.  I played more Skyrim, and we played Dungeon Defenders with Matt and Josh.  I'm waiting to install Sam's hard drive.  It's difficult getting him off his computer long enough to do the install.

Eventually my family descended on the house.  We ate chili and talked about the latest in the Colette ring fiasco.  It sounds like it's unfortunately going to take awhile.

We got kids to bed, and dropped everyone off at school this morning.  Sam starts a new term today, and I'm eager to find out what his new classes are.

15+ Years

December 05, 2011 by Adam in Adam

Last Thursday we celebrated our department's longtimers.  I've been at PeaceHealth for over 15 years (16 later this month).  While it's had its up and downs, I generally love my job and continue to be amazed that they pay me to do it.  Glen, my manager, put together a little slide for me to show to the 300+ people in HID.  It's a good thing I'm comfortable in a tiara.

More snow and cold!

December 05, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

We had more snow last night, and Robbie and Isabell are enjoying a snow day today.  Now they're watching A Christmas Carol and playing with the dogs.

Sigh... I'm still trying to work.  Bah Humbug!

Here's the snow

December 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez


Good Morning!

December 03, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

We had snow this morning, and it looks like it will continue through the weekend.  Today we're heading down to Santa Fe and then to Ojo Caliente to soak in the hot springs and maybe get a massage.

We made hot chocolate and pancakes this morning, and now the neighbor puppy is over napping with Shiloh and Isabell. 

Mocha Friday

December 02, 2011 by Adam in Family

I finished with my mocha, its pleasant effervescence still bubbling through my veins.  All the kids made it to school, except for Sam who gets the day off.

The week has gone relatively well.  I was celebrated at work yesterday, along with a bunch of other people with employment milestones.  I've been hear for 15 years (16 in a couple weeks), so I got to stand up in front of people while they read my name.  The best part was taking some of the helium balloons home, which entertained all the kids after work.  Sam made neutrally bouyant Lego people and inhaled helium.  Emma, Berry, and Duncan carried them about.  A good time was had by all.

Joanna spoke with the jeweler where her mother's ring was lost.  Evidently the owner let go of the woman we were working with, as we were reporting different things had been lost compared to what she was saying.  Very strange.  In any case, I think we're waiting for the claims adjuster to contact us.  Poor Joanna continues to have bad stomach issues from all of this, as it's all very stressful.

Sam finished his last day of the term yesterday.  Since he was sick on Wednesday, he had to make up a couple tests, but he very responsibly took care of it.  He, Matt, Josh, and I celebrated by playing Terraria and having a great time.

We have lots of plans for this weekend - breaking out the Christmas lights, going to the library, and swimming.  There's also a lunchtime pizza and Mythbusters on Sunday, as we have the family dinner that night.  Tonight Joanna and I are going to try to go dancing.  Busy, busy.

They Say It's Your Birthday!

December 01, 2011 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy birthday Robbie!!!!  We had pancakes (and a few presents at breakfast), and I there will be more goodies tonight after an afternoon movie.  Life is good.

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