Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our Day at Universal Studios

Universal Studios have the coolest deal going on right now!  For the month of March, all teachers and school employees can get in for free.  A good friend passed that tidbit on to us, and since neither of us has been there in the last 5 years, Jesse and I decided to use our free day last week to take advantage of the deal!

Here we are loving that we both have school IDs!

Jesse gets one as a DCE (he works at both the church and school), and I've been subbing at the same school all year, so I have one, too.  Let me tell you, teacher IDs have PERKS!

Happy just to be together :)

We had an absolutely wonderful day!  The weather was just perfect--not too hot, and just right for breezy summer clothes.  Let me tell you, I was only too happy to unearth my flip flops for such an occasion!

We figured that since we got in for free, the day was a gift, and we didn't have to worry about long lines or not getting all the rides in.  We simply enjoyed holding hands and relishing every moment together since we knew Jesse would be leaving for the week in a few days (he's currently at a camp with the 6th grade class at Hope--just like last year).

God was good, though!  We were never in a line for more than 15 minutes (except for when the brand new Simpson's ride broke twice, so we got out of line and came back later!)  We were able to fit in everything we wanted for the day.

Especially things like churros that make Jesse a very happy guy

Well, ok...churros can make two people very happy!

Here we are after Jurassic Park

I survived the 84 foot drop!  
(I haaaaaate drops)

Conscious oblivion... :-)

One of our favorite things about the day was the Animal Actors show they have.  This picture is for Laura: it's Kevin from The Proposal!  Actually, she is Nanu, and is super adorable--even though she isn't the tiny little cottonball from the movie :)

Also, this little orangutan was a real cutie :)

We also enjoyed the tram ride around the backlots.  That seriously is the coolest thing!

I'm pretty sure the best part of Jesse's day was finding out that there is a Hard Rock Cafe on the Studio Walk.  He was so excited!  Jesse loves Hard Rock and has been collecting shirts from every one that he visits.  He's got a pretty impressive collection, too, since he has one from Hong Kong that he got when he was on handbell tour freshman (I think) year, and one from Canada from the junior year tour (I think).   Now he's looking forward to picking one up in New Orleans this summer!

Anyway, here we are!  

It was my first time going to a Hard Rock

Following tradition, Jesse got a new Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood shirt, and I got to join in on the fun with a Hard Rock hat.  I don't have a picture of the two of us sporting our new apparel, but I will soon!

You can't really beat getting into Universal Studios for free and spending the day with your love!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So Happy

This week marks a huge turn around in Jesse and my life together: Jesse has moved his schedule around so that he will be home more nights in the week!

All that we've known since we've been married is that Jesse is never home before 9pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and of course, busy with church  and school events on most Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays.  We haven't known what it's like to have more than one sit-down dinner at home a week, or what it's like to have hours to look forward to spending with each other before falling asleep.

At the beginning of March, Jesse moved his schedule around so that instead of meeting on Monday nights, the high school youth group now meets on Sundays before the evening service, and instead of meeting on Tuesday nights, the college/career group now meets on Wednesdays right after the jr. high youth group.  That takes 3 groups that were originally each given their own night, and condenses it down to one night a week and being at church allllllllllllll day on Sundays.  (Not even kidding.  Our Sunday now goes from 8am-8pm, and since we live 30 minutes from church, it doesn't make sense to go back and forth in one day).

Since I was so sick last week, we didn't really get a taste of how wonderful this change is until this week.  It's so exciting!

I can still count on one hand the number of Monday evenings Jesse and I have spent together since we've been at Hope.  Since Monday was his high school youth group night, he was with them every week--holidays included.  Having him all to myself on a Monday is something entirely new!

To celebrate, we went to the Staples Center to see a Clippers game.  Jesse found some really great tickets for seats right on the floor.  He was so excited!  And that was my first NBA game, so I was excited, too :)
We invited our friends Jon and Mary, and even tried a new Italian restaurant before the game.  It was a great night!

Last night, we had a barbeque at home.  I figured it's the only way to deal with an 85 degree day in the middle of MARCH!  Anticipating our yummy feast, Jesse had marinated the steak the night before, and it was the juciest, yummiest steak I think we've ever done!  We also enjoyed roasted corn on the cob and buttermilk rolls. 

The whole night just felt like a celebration.  I'm so happy that Jesse was able to move things around to make more time for us.  I know it means that Sundays are more busy, but to have Jesse at home two more nights a week is amazing.  I'm excited just thinking about the things we will be able to do together now.  God is good!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our Valentine's Day

I know this is late, but here it is!

After church on the 14th, Jesse and I drove up to Santa Barbara for a beautiful day in my old stomping grounds.  Since we had both been sick that week, we waited until the last moment to make the decision to go.  We didn't make dinner reservations, and didn't book a hotel.  We figured that we were flexible as far as food goes (who says Valentine's Day has to have a candlelit dinner with roses?) and that if we decided to stay in the area (loving that the next day was another holiday!) we could spend the night at Mom and Dad's house instead of fronting a hotel bill.

Last year was our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, and the first one that Jesse wasn't sick!  Our very first Valentine's Day, we spent in the emergency room because Jesse had a fever of 105!  We're not against laid-back holidays :)  As long as we're healthy, we're happy!

Anyyyyyyyy ways, Valentine's Day was beautiful.  The weather was just perfect, and we enjoyed every bit of our day.

We got to Santa Barbara around 3:00, and drove straight to the pier so that we could sit and enjoy the breeze and waves.

I love that we spend so many of our special days at the beach!

Santa Barbara is a special place to us, because it was one of the first dates we went on as a couple.

I made this shirt as a 'gift' for Jesse

(only a guy wouldn't notice that my tag was sticking out!)
The writing on the bottom of the shirt says "He's my #1!"

My handsome man, being in four places at once :)

I love the Santa Barbara pier, because it's not just a pier.  It's a community!  Musicians bring guitars, keyboards, harmonicas, fiddles, steel kettle drums.  Fishermen bring their rods and chatter while waiting for their catch.  Artists set up easels and get to work, with plenty of pieces for sale nearby. 

Even the homeless are creative:
(these blankets were set out right below the pierwalk so that people could toss coins while the men slept in the shade.)
"Make a wish!"

"Why lie? Need Beer."

"I know the other guys have bigger blankets, but I'm new at this."

I remember this man from years ago.  He makes a new sand sculpture every day.  Each one is a piece of art.

My family has been going to Palazzio, an amazing Italian restaurant on State Street, for about 10 years.  Whenever we had a special occassion to celebrate, we would go to Palazzio.  Somehow, though, it had never worked out to be able to introduce Jesse to this special tradition.  I was bent on bringing him on Valentine's Day!

When we called Palazzio to see if it was possible to make reservations, they said that they were completely booked.  They suggested that we put our name on the waiting list when the restaurant opened at 5, and see what happened. 

After enjoying our lovely sunset on the pier, we went over to State Street to Palazzio.  There was already a line of people outside, waiting to put their name in.  Jesse looked at me like this was a hopeless cause, but I was determined.  We stood in line, put our name in, and were told that it could be anywhere from one hour to two.  We found cozy little niche in the wal that was still warm from the sun's heat, and enjoyed a local keyboardist as he played "My Funny Valentine," "Moon River," and other classics.

Jesse was so hungry that his food radar was going off and he was pointing out all of the other restaurants that didn't look as busy.  I told him to just be patient :)

Fifteen minutes into our wait, they called our names and seated us on the patio.  I was so excited!  The weather was still just perfect outside, and this way, we could still enjoy the beautiful music coming from the sidewalk.  Pretty soon, a man with a saxophone walked up the the guy with the keyboard, and they started playing "L-O-V-E" together.  It was so perfect!

I absolutely love the family-style dinners at Palazzio, and was happy that Jesse enjoyed the food, too.  (Of course, there aren't many people who wouldn't enjoy that food, and there isn't much of anything that Jesse won't eat!)

Here we are with our delicious pasta and amazing tiramisu--yum!
At the end of dinner, our waiter came by and gave me a long stem rose!  It was a perfect touch to an incredible meal.  I'm so glad that it worked out that Jesse and I could come spend another special day in Santa Barbara.  We don't need much to enjoy each other, but we were thankful that God worked it out that we could have a candlelit dinner, romantic music, and even roses on our Valentine's Day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jr. High DYG

My very first DYG (and Jesse's 8th or something like that!) was this last weekend.

For those of you who don't know what a DYG is, don't feel bad. I didn't either, until I met Jesse! DYG is the Lutheran Missouri Synod's "District Youth Gathering" that happens once a year (well, twice: one for Jr. High, one for Sr. High)

Jesse was on the planning committee for this year's DYG, so he had to leave a day earlier than I did. (You can read about how sweet and amazing he is right here )
This year's Jr. High DYG was held at the Hilton in Costa Mesa (not sure whose bright idea it was to bring 250 10-14 year olds to an airport hotel!) They had fun activities for us, an awesome band, a service event, a great speaker, and lots of down time for the kids to go crazy :)
My camera died 2 hours into our time there, so these are the only pictures I have right now. Hopefully, I can steal some from others to share!

Jesse playing some indoor/on the floor volleyball with our group

Some of our girls decorating a sign for Hope Lutheran (represent!)

Everyone was given some of these crazy slat shades...

Matt definitely rocked them the best!

Jr. High girls are all crazy about Justin Bieber right now.  They found Sharpie pens and wrote "I ♥ J.B." on their shades.  I teased them that they weren't allowed to be in love with my husband!

I think this weekend did a pretty good job of wearing us all out!

But we had lots of fun, and I've already heard the kids talking about going back next year :)