Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mmmmmm Autumn...

Autumn, or Fall, is my favorite season. There are several reasons for this, but I think they all boil down to the same reason: it is the prelude to the Christmas season. I L-O-V-E Christmas-time. Like... really. I'm a little nuts. I've always been that way, and so has my sister - anytime we catch a hint of wood-burning-fireplace-smoke-scent in the air: "It's Christmas-time... start a fire, open presents." If there is an unseasonally cool day: "It's Christmas-time... start a fire, open presents." I can't even count how many inappropriate times I recite this phrase throughout the year.
But, of course, before the Christmas season, we have Fall - and I think this anticipation building up to the beginning of winter and the holiday season is what makes Fall so much fun. The leaves changing color, the days gradually getting shorter, the weather getting a little cooler and a little crisper... it all adds to the fun. And now that I've returned to work, it feels as if I've been on summer vacation these past few months and am now returning for a new school year, and in my mind, that equates to Fall. Forget the fact that it's still nearing 100 degree in Sacramento this week, or that we're still swimming and using the air conditioner, or that it's still August (at least for today). No: it's Fall.
Which means gathering ideas and starting craft projects for the annual Plumgrove Boutique (don't worry, there will be MANY more plugs for this before November 18th), pulling out the harvest-themed placemats and table runner, and plugging in the 'Harvest Apple' wallflowers air freshener refill. Mmmmm.... I can already taste the apple cider at Apple Hill, feel the warmth of the fireplace, and hear the Christmas music (...or is that last one coming from my iPod right now?). Tis the season.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bring it, Kohl's.

Today I went to Kohl's.

Yes, that's right... look again. I spent 43 cents. Have I mentioned before that I love a good deal?

Nick has recently begun referee-ing (that's a thing, right?) for youth football - pop warner leagues all the way up to high school varsity football. It's something he's been wanting to do for a few years now because he is a football fan beyond obsessed with the sport, and had always thought that if he had the time he'd like to try it. He's enjoying it so far and it's also looking like it will be a nice little side job for some extra cash. And he's apparently pretty good, since he told me yesterday that he's already so highly rated that he's the only first-year official assigned to a varsity game (which is how you know if you're good or not... the crappy refs apparently get stuck with the 7 year-olds that don't have any idea what's going on). 

So, he needed a few black t-shirts to wear under his uniform, and he had gotten $10 in 'Kohl's cash' recently when he bought a pair of shoes for the uniform... I then stopped into Kohl's after work today armed with the afore-mentioned Kohl's cash (which is basically a free $10 to spend on anything in the store) and promptly found three black t-shirts on clearance. I paid 43 cents for three t-shirts and thoroughly impressed the snaggle-toothed cashier (who looked like she could've been 17 or 58). I totally see the logic behind this 'Kohl's cash' - they clearly want it to entice you to go into the store and spend more than $10 so they are still bringing in revenue, possibly from customers that wouldn't normally shop there, and creating a loyal returning customer out of you. Na-ah, Kohl's - not me. I will take all of your free coupons and Kohl's cash and whatever other promotional free stuff you want to give me and leave with a bag full of stuff without paying much more than a few pennies. You may still be taking my money, but I promise it will only be 43 cents at a time. Game on.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Don't you wish you were married to me?

I don't think I've mentioned recently that I love my husband. So: I love my husband. 

I am incredibly grateful that Nick has the kind of job where he has the option of working from home so he's able to be home with Nora a few days a week. I don't think he always feels the same way, however... especially since Nora's favorite hobbies now include diving headfirst off the couch into the coffee table, kicking the dog square in the face without any provocation whatsoever, and hiding her pacifier in her diaper pail with the poopy diapers.
Nick also puts up with a lot of my craziness. Like last night, for example, we took a quick trip to Target, mainly for milk since we were almost out, and for a few other items we needed. The whole reason, mind you, for even going to Target in the first place (for the second trip in less than 5 days), was for the great "sale" on milk. I say "sale" because it wasn't really... in my mind, it was - because as Nick told me, I'm apparently selectively dyslexic. I swore up and down that milk was on sale for $2.39 this week... that's $1 off the regular price, mind you, which is pretty unbeatable for a gallon of whole milk (note this is Nora's milk... we don't drink milk regularly enough to mind whole milk in coffee, etc.... we're not big milk fatties that just drink whole milk all the time - no offense to any of you who drink whole milk all the time, but really, you should probably switch to at least 2%).
So when we got to the refrigerated case and Nick pointed out it was $3.29, NOT $2.39, I was up in arms and promptly ran back to the front of the store to check the price printed in the weekly ad. I was very disappointed in myself when I saw he was right. SO not a great deal. After begrudgingly putting the milk in the cart, grumbling that had I known the real price I wouldn't have passed it up at Costco to make a special trip to Target for this "great sale", Nick was already heading toward the checkout stand. So upset by my failure to save $1 on milk (yes, these things upset me), I *kind of* blew up at him a little, explaining how I wasn't even done yet and why are you in such a hurry and can you stay at least a little close by so I can put things in the cart you're pushing and this is why I can't bring you grocery shopping. Yeah.... he puts up with the crazy.
I love you, Nick. Maybe I'll make you a watermelon margerita tonight.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Alas, A Weekend at Home

This past weekend was the first weekend we've actually been able to wake up in our own bed in over a month - literally. Since the second weekend in July, we've been camping...

or vacationing at Russian River...

or in San Diego for Morgan and Cory's wedding...

or in Reno celebrating Corey's 21st birthday.

This past weekend, however, we had no major trips planned, and it was wonderful. Don't get me wrong, I am, by no means, complaining that we HAD to go on vacations and be part of an awesome wedding for two of our favorite people in the world and spend a weekend gambling and drinking in the biggest little city in the world. We had a blast each and every weekend with all of our favorite family and friends. But I think everyone can agree that after a while, you just can't wait to be sitting on your couch in your own living room, or using your own shower, or waking up in your own bed (even if there is a hairy, dog-version of Rosemary's baby at the end of that bed). A couple of things I really didn't miss: cleaning, laundry, making my own bed, and oh, that's right, the roosters. Yes, we have neighborhood roosters that have recently decided to take up residence in our park, directly behind our backyard. And every morning around 5:30am, they make sure to remind us that they're still alive and well.
Although we were at home most of the past weekend, we did take a drive to the bay area to attend a totally spectacular party, hosted by our favorite party-hosting friends, Mia and Kevan. The party was 80s-themed, in high demand after the first tubular soiree a few years back. Nora stayed home with Nick's mom, and Nick offered to drive home, so needless to say, I made sure I made the most of this opportunity and was in a fine state by the end of the night. Did not feel too hot the following morning. But totally worth it, as I am, of course, a phenomenal dancer after throwing back a couple of poorly-mixed rum-and-something-fizzy-and-something-juicy drinks.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Brief Stint at Stay-at-Home-Mommyhood & what lies ahead...


Well, needless to say, it's been much, much, MUCH too long since my last blog post. And there's really been no excuse for it. In my last post (...way back in April...) I was just about to become a stay-at-home mom and we were getting ready to leave for Budapest with the family - both were extremely exciting, fun, and times which I will never forget. The trip to Budapest was beyond amazing... I can't even believe I didn't post after coming back (although it was already so long ago, I honestly kind of thought that I had!), it just doesn't seem to do it justice to mention it now, four months later, but here are some highlights: did lots of sightseeing, saw lots of distant family that fed us lots of delicious Hungarian food, drank A LOT of wine, and even survived a halfway-around-the-world-and-back flight with a 10-month old. Nora did amazingly well and was surprisingly extremely easy to travel with - unfortunately she will not have any recollection of the trip, but we came back with well over a thousand pictures collectively and hopefully we'll be able to make the trip again someday when she's older.
The beginning of one long plane ride... I've never been more thankful for Nora's excellent sleeping habits.
N-n-n-n-n-Nora the explorer.
Nick and Nora enjoying the leisurely walk across the Szechenyi Bridge toward Buda.
The quaint and windy streets of the castle district in Buda.
Breakfast of champions.
View from the Citadel, the highest point in Budapest.
Happily looking like tourists on the very-touristy Vaci Utca, making our way to the market.
I definitely recalled some very fond memories of my four months abroad while I was lucky enough to live in this beautiful city. I retraced the steps I took nearly five years ago (how has it really been that long?) around the city, down Andrassy Ut, around City Park and the fabulous Szecheny Baths, remembering without hesitation the correct stops on the metro lines and which streets to turn down in order to conveniently pass by my favorite places to eat and drink. Since we've gotten back from this trip, Nick and I have said countless times... I want to go back. But the real reason this trip was so special was because of the company we shared while there, in particular, my grandmother - Oma - to those of you who know our family. I can't describe how amazing it was to travel to her and my grandfather's hometown, to stay with family that she hasn't seen in decades and watch them reminisce and joke and sing like they had never been apart all these years... to see the small rural town which has been modernized (and by modernized, I mean some people now have running water and electricity, and some even have internet and satellite TV - ironically, however, many of those with satellite TV do not also have running water...) but still seems, in so many ways, frozen in a much simpler time where most people make homemade wine and many have not even been to the capital city of Budapest, 2 hours away. Oma was the very best tourguide we could have asked for, and when back in Budapest, I took over and happily helped my family to discover this beautiful and unique city on the Danube.
My grandfather's family's old street in the middle of Duschau/Duzs.
Our Duschau family... halfway around the world, yet so much like being at home.
My great-great grandmother's house, where Oma spent many happy days as a child. 
My mom, aunt Maria and uncle Norman taking in the view from my grandfather's family's former vineyard.

The best little traveler you know.
It was also very exciting and relieving knowing that once I returned from the trip, I would officially be a stay-at-home mom. While it was short-lived, I enjoyed each and every second that I was able to spend with Nora and wish it could have lasted a little longer before returning to work, but alas, I've learned since I've entered adulthood that unfortunately there's this silly thing called money and these other annoying things called bills and apparently, you need the former in order to get rid of the latter. I don't really like being an adult sometimes.

So, I am now once again a working employed-outside-the-home-and-getting-paid-for-it mom... and so far, even though it is not easy leaving Nora every morning, I'm actually really enjoying my new job. I'm extremely grateful for the fact that everyone I've met is genuinely nice and welcoming, making for an easy transition back into office-life. AND, everyone tells me there's a good chunk of downtime most days, which will hopefully allow me to get back to my blog on a much more regular basis. I figured that it was a good sign when on my second day, I looked in my file drawer and found this:

It was clearly left by the girl that used to sit at my cubicle. But the question was, did she accidentally leave it behind? Or, did she very purposefully leave it behind, because maybe she received it as a gift in a secret santa yankee swap gift exchange, when really what she wanted was the iPod? (...unfortunately it was the first assumption, and yes, I had to give it back.)