Friday, May 31, 2013

San Diego Trip

It had been just shy of a year since I last visited my hometown, San Diego, and it was indeed a very treasured trip. Although, it went exceedingly fast, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions from tears of joy to tears of sadness, but I am always overwhelmed by the welcoming & loving response by everyone. This trip was not just a visit home, but initially to celebrate my sister Samie & her graduation, as well as send her off to graduate school as she embarks on a new journey on the East Coast. I definitely stayed busy, between party planning & preparations, shopping for her necessities, visiting with family & friends, & celebrations. It was such a blast and wish that I could do it all over again.

We stayed pretty busy getting everything ready for Samie's graduation party, which I'll post another blog about later. In between all the running around & eating at all the restaurants/ cuisines I've been deprived of, I would have to say the winner was INDIAN food & of course was in good company. Here in La Paz, we have nothing of the sort. Although Yogurt Mill came in pretty close as I love my dessert! And surprisingly, Souplantation was on my list as I was craving a nice delicious salad, which really hit the spot. Spending time with my in-laws is always a pleasure, it was so nice to see them! Visiting our church & getting to spend time with beloved friends & mentors is always such a joy.We also conquered shopping for Samie as she was needing to buy some essentials for the East Coast, which I also forgot what it was like to walk around a "real" mall-- oh the luxuries of the States ;)

Here is a little sneek peek into all the preparations for the party. We made pressed salami & turkey sandwiches, southwestern pasta salad, homemade ice cream Popsicles & sandwiches, chai tea cupcakes, plus, all the decor.

 We put my sister-in-law to good work with preparations, projects, & clean-up, thank you so much Abby-- we couldn't have done it w/o you!!

And we may have forgotten a few things or missed calculated quantities of items needed... so Carl was our go-to guy! Thank you for the several extra trips to the market!
To weigh down the sandwiches, we happily put all her old college books to good use. We had a very full fridge that night! The sandwiches came out super delicious & we had been worried we didn't have enough, but they turned out to be so filling. Definitely will be trying out different versions of this style sandwich.

Kellie stopped at the farmer's market for the flowers & arranged them all in mason jars, along with helping with a billion other things, she definitely warns the BEST sister award.

We also had lots of family bonding time with homemade pizza my sister whipped up, which was gourmet status; with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese-- absolutely delicious!

Also, it excitingly was my grandmother's 80th birthday, so we of course celebrated with a  BIG turkey dinner. She now suffers from Alzheimers, but remains strong. She used to be the most amazing cook & always enjoyed her home-cooked meals. She has such a sweet & kind tender heart. We love you Nanny & so thankful that you could be such an incredible role model to us.

After the party, we still had to pack her stuff up & only having 2 days to do so, lets just say we had some very late nights. Also, her focus was having some air filter problems & because of the holiday couldn't get fixed in time, so a perk about having a father, an owner of a car lot, she was gifted with a new vehicle, a Suburu, which will be perfect & an even better option for the East Coast, especially in winter with AWD. We managed to still jam-pack her new larger car full, even got her bicycle in there.  This was definitely the hardest part, sending her off, we were all in tears, yet so excited for her journey! Which she arrived safely after 4 days of traveling & already found her new place. 

I certianly had an eventful trip & definitely miss San Diego-- but thankful for all of my friends & family who made this such a sweet & joyful trip, and continue to keep my in your thoughts. Its always such a blessing to catch up & see where God is leading everyone-- His plan is far more abundant than we can even imagine.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Our 2nd Anniversary

Today, we celebrate two incredible years of marriage. At times I think to myself, "has it really been this long", it seems like it was only yesterday that we shared our vows... but as well as the opposite being true, feeling as though he has always been my best friend & joy to come home to. We have been beyond blessed to embark on this adventure together as it has had its wild moments already & cannot wait for everything else that's in store, I am so grateful that he chose me. 

Not to say it hasn't had its troubled times, but those are the ones that test us, & cause our marriage to grow stronger. I can honestly tell you that I love every moment of being married even those challenging times, perhaps not right then, but after as we always resolve our wounds & perhaps learn something new, I ponder the great rewards of this covenant of ours. I treasure the fact that I get so spend every spare moment with my best friend, search for adventure together, find joy in the littlest of things, & ultimately get to participate in following Jesus together. Sure it has been an interesting road to grasp how to administer to two very different people in a marriage, which in actuality, it is a beautiful thing because it's a mere celebration of those qualities, strengths, & character that benefit, as well as protect each other in our weaknesses. It's an intense journey as you become so intimate & learn the flaws of one another, but I have learned & of course continue to understand how marriage exposes our hearts & presses areas that we try to hide or keep secret, but God uses it to grow & mature us so we don't rely on ourselves or on even each other. But rather seek Him, as He truly is the one that can fulfill & satisfy us ultimately. For marriage is this extravagant relationship meant to weaken our self-reliance & drive us to the end of ourselves & toward the Cross. Marriage is not the end of the toll road, but preparing us for our final destination. 

I have learned so much about myself these last two years in many aspects. How we are to love each other in simple ways, every day serving, but also in specific. That marriage is truly this sacrificial love & we must protect this sacred unity. I have learned to become interested not in just the things I like, but his as well. Not keeping tabs on his wrongs, but remember to offer the same grace that our Savior has & continually gives us daily, to look for ways to always encourage, support, and respect my husband, taking each opportunity captive to love him, fight the things that I might get distracted by. Through these learning moments I have found so much joy in being my husband's helpmate & wouldn't change it for the world. It's exciting to be apart of this journey of life together & take heart in that loving him is growing me to be more like Christ & the woman He designed me to be. My husband is so good to me & I am truly blessed to call him mine. He still gives me the butterflies & makes me feel so special. He is so patient with me, always goes out of his way to show that he loves me, gives me sweet encouragement, & makes sure I am content, & even spoils me beyond that. He makes it easy to love him and deeply demonstrates the love of our Lord, & is reflection of Christ daily to me, as we know He is our true groom. 

You mean the world to me love & I appreciate & treasure you more than you could know. Thank you for your abundant love & blessing me these past two years making me your wife! I am so encouraged by your positive attitude, adventurous & outgoing personality, calm spirit, kind heart, dedication, steadfast love for our Savior, & humble means. I love you handsome! Besitos!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Re-Cap of Samie's Visit

Well, Samie came & went, spending just a little over 3 weeks with us. Although it is a lengthy bit of time, it all seemed to pass by too fast, yet it indeed was full of lots of excitement! We ate our way through La Paz of course, made up for it with several runs along the breathtaking view on the malecon, & made a couple visits to the beach. Along with everything in between: late night movies, heartfelt discussions, interview prep/ decision making (She's off to Johns Hopkins for graduate school) work, & creating a ton of other cherished memories.

Our first stop when we picked Samie up at the airport was a favorite of hers, Rancho Viejo. It hits the spot as always, yum! It was so nice to catch up in person & hear about life back in the states, we sure do miss it. But are definitely blessed to live where we do & eat at restaurants with such beautiful scenery overlooking the malecon.

Another day, we hit the local market that sells delicious typical foods for super cheap before heading to a nearby beach, La Concha. We ate some 10 peso empanadas & then soaked up the sun.

We also hit one of my new favorite restuarants, Los Tamarindos. Invited our friend Alex too, who actually just left back home Saturday after doing a research project here in La Paz for 9 months. So blessed to have met her & looking forward to all that's in store for her future.


Also, they have folk dancers who perform on weekends, which is perhaps my favorite part-- doing different dances from regions throughout Mexico (one included a machete!). He even pulled us ladies up onto the dance floor, I was terrible. We left stuffed, but the food was delightful-- we ordered the traditional Mexican plate, the Regional  plate, & can't go wrong with chicken fajitas.  

Also, took Samie to Maria California's not only to taste the delicious cuisine, but also because it happens to be the owner of a young man she was tutoring for math & science while visiting. Plus, we needed to celebrate her post-interview for Johns Hopkins (we knew she would get in, right? -- Way to go sis! Both Sam's ;) ordered enchiladas while I ordered enfrijoladas, everything was mouthwatering!

Another event was a big race to showcase vintage vehicles racing part of baja, so Sam of course went to the convention snapping a ton of photos of all the cars & then also even had the opportunity to do the night pit for a friend who was racing. He didn't come home until 4am, as well as gave me a good scare when he got home. Us ladies decided on a girls night of course which included rolled tacos & a movie. Sam pictured with the older gentleman has a picture with him when he was just a little boy about 18 years ago, so cool!


 We had to make a trip to one of our favorite beach locations, Puntas Arenas. The water was a tad cold, so the hubby had to carry me in order to get me to go, but it was bearable &  fresh after finally being plunged into it. We had the whole place to ourselves basically, and made some light salads (recipes coming soon) & Alex brought ceviche to share for lunch. Beautiful scenery, amazing marine life, and wonderful company, made for an excellent day!

A trip to La Paz is not complete without raspados and tostilocos! We shared them among the three of us, & of course we were not disappointed-- so refreshing on a HOT day. It may look very strange, but it is surprisingly so tasty that you crave it! 

We couldn't resist another trip to Tailhunter Restaurant, sort of a last hurrah before our good friend Alex & Samie both left to return home. We enjoyed our lovely chat with the owners, Jon & Jillian-- thank you for the great time, beautiful sunset, & rico food! We love the fun & spirited environment here & always are beyond satisfied with the variety of food & great service.


And finally it comes to an end: famous chiliquiles from the Dock. One of our favorite once-in-a-while breakfast dishes as it's on the heavier side, and we have yet to find a better ones than here. Portions are our of control, so Samie & I shared one. We of course all loved the gorgeous & serene view sitting on the deck while devouring our plates, & discussing everyone's favorite highlights of La Paz. I was also asked if I was Portuguese by the waiter because of my accent... does that mean I'm not a gringo anymore ;)

It was seriously such an AMAZING time that we could have with each other as it has been so long since we got to spend a good amount of time together, as well as be able to share in all the excitement as she sets sail for a new journey in Maryland (whoa!) at Johns Hopkins. We are so proud & so excited, we cannot wait to see all that the Lord has in store for you. Thank you for coming out, we appreciate your cheerful spirit, sincerity  genuine being, and thoughtful heart. Love you to pieces & know the Lord blessed us with each other!