Friday, January 31, 2014

2013 in Review- Part 2

Before we said goodbye to the summer we had a few more beach days (ok, make that a lot) and got to spend time with our nieces who came from AZ to visit and escape the heat.  They had a blast at the beach!  I swear they spent more time in the water than out of the water.   Aunt Sasha was acting as lifeguard because as we all know,  I'm a wuss when it comes to the water.  Don't worry, their dad was in the water with them.

Love these lil munchkins so much!!! 
After the summer we said goodbye to some dear, dear friends.  The Marine Corps not only brings deployments but it also brings PCS season.  In civilian terms that just means people move away and get stationed to other parts of the country.  In military life I have found that you can get so close to people in such a short time and then just as quickly as you became close those people have to move away.  But despite the distance, I know we will always remain close. One of the ladies I met via this deployment, Courtney, her husband Micheal and their newborn Easton moved to Quantico, VA.  I miss that little guy so much!!  I remember going to ultrasounds and touring the hospital with Courtney while Micheal was deployed. But it is so fun to see pictures of baby Easton and watch him grow.  I swear he was just a tiny little thing and now that little man is walking!   Just wished they lived closer!

Before Easton was born with Courtney at his ultrasound (left) and a day after Easton was born at the hospital (right)

Another lovely lady I met because of the deployment, Lindsay, moved with her husband Tyson back to Omaha, NE after Tyson got out of the Marine Corps.  I got so close to these girls over Josh's last deployment and I am so thankful for the time I had with them.  I've said this a lot but as much as I hate deployments I'm so thankful for this last one because without it I probably never would have met these amazing women.  California just hasn't been the same since they left.  Before Lindsay left we all did a little wine tasting in Temecula.  I love that SoCal has its own "wine country" and I love that it is only a 45 min drive from us.  We've been there a couple times this year and each time it never disappoints.  I LOVE a good day of relaxing in wine country, sipping on a glass of wine, eating fine cheeses and enjoying a picnic with good friends; it doesn't get much better than that.

Lindsay and I
The Temecula Wine Tasting Crew
Vino with these beauties 
Josh had a first this year.  His FIRST CONCERT ever!!! Yes, EVER!  Apparently he attended a concert after an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game but that does not count.  So for his first concert, we headed to the Hollywood Bowl to see Zac Brown Band.  Since we moved to SoCal, I've been wanting to go to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  It's such an iconic place; legends including Nat "King" Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, and Simon & Garfunkel have all headlined at The Hollywood Bowl.  So much history and such a neat venue.  If you've never been there, you have to experience a concert there in the Hollywood Hills; its unforgettable.  And Josh is surprisingly a big fan of country music so Zac Brown Band it was.  Although, I shouldn't be surprised Josh likes country; he's a hopeless romantic and whats more romantic and a lot a bit hopeless than country music.

The concert was amazing!!  The best part was a surprise appearance by Jason Mraz!!! He sang his song "I Won't Give Up" and man oh man does that song get me everytime.  I was able to get a video below, but excuse all the background noise.  If you listen carefully you can hear Josh singing along ;).  Josh's 1st concert = success!  I think it will be hard to top this one though.

With the change of season, or I guess I should say with the "change of calendar months", because there really are no true seasons here, came the fall: my favorite time of year.  Josh and I got to celebrate our 2nd anniversary, but really it was the first anniversary we actually got to spend together.  It was very special.  We made a nice dinner at home together and got to enjoy each other's company; something that we now never take advantage of thanks to a few deployments.

Nothing better than having my hubby home for our 2nd anniversary celebration
"Coelho" Wine and cupcakes from the bakery that baked our wedding cake seemed very appropriate for the occasion

Our anniversary, Nov 6 also falls very close to the Marine Corps birthday, Nov 10, which means the Birthday Ball.  I'm not sure what the opinion of other Marine Corps spouses is about the Birthday Ball but I happen to love it!  It's an excuse to dress fancy, get your hair done, and dance the night away.  How many times do you get to wear a ball gown in your life?  Well I have a reason to wear one once a year which I think is pretty lucky.  Oh and did I mention my Prince Charming escorts me to the ball each year; so yes it truly is every 5 year old girl's dream.

This brings us to the holidays.  Life as a nurse means you work when others aren't working, lots of weekends, nights and yes, holidays.  This year I happened to work a lot of holidays: Thanksgiving and all of Christmas.  However, working on an oncology unit really puts things into perspective, especially during the holidays.  Presents don't matter, the perfect Thanksgiving menu or the most "pinteresty" table setting don't matter.  What matters most is family, your health and time spent together.  On Christmas at the hospital we played Christmas elves and delivered bags of goodies to all the patients.  Even if I had to be away from family, it was so rewarding to be there with our patients.  It also helped that we had an awesome group working Christmas, so we actually had a lot of fun.

Being Christmas Elves at the hospital

We wrapped up 2013 with a trip to San Fran to take a New Years Eve Cruise on the San Francisco Bay.  I've always wanted to do a big extravagant New Years celebration and since Josh and I have been checking off a lot on our bucket list ever since he came back this seemed to be the perfect time.  Josh and I are definitely not night owls.  The last new years we spent together my parents woke us up at midnight because we had fallen asleep on the couch trying to stay up.  If it hits 10pm we call it a late night.  Lame, I know.  We are old people at heart.

A New Years celebration deserves a sparkly dress.  Josh and I on the yacht.
But this New Years we channeled our 20 something-year-old selves and stayed out late to ring in the New Year.  We boarded a yacht and set sail on the Bay for a cruise.  Our good friends, Maria and Kyle, joined us for the celebrations.  I met Maria on the deployment (Kyle was deployed with Josh). The bay at night is gorgeous with all the lights and the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge in the distance.  And best of all, at midnight the fireworks were right over our heads.  I'm so happy we did this, it was such a fun experience.  I don't know how many New Years' we'll actually stay up for in the future, but to know we had this one will make up for all the ones we happen to sleep thru.

The dapper gents
The City by the Bay

It's good to start the year off with my husband home.  Here's to many more adventures together, good health, good times with family and friends and many many more happy memories.  Happy 2014!!  May every day be happier than the last. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2013 in Review- Part 1

As you can tell by my absence and lack of posts Josh is HOME!  To be clear, he's been home longer than the amount of time he was away.  So needless to say, my free time has been spent catching up with my husband.  We've had a BLAST spending time with each other, with family, going to weddings, soaking up the Southern California summer sun, traveling; its been pure bliss.

The homecoming was such a mix of emotions.  I was nervous, excited, anxious, overjoyed and tearful (happy tears of course).  Josh's mom was with me to welcome Josh (and his dad who had joined Josh on the last week of the deployment) home.  I'm so thankful she was there because I know I would have been a ball of nerves sitting there waiting for him by myself.  I couldn't wipe smile away from my face: pure bliss.  The pictures pretty much sum it up.  And I promise you the homecoming was just as amazing as all those ones you see on commercials on TV.  The ones that make you cry and fill your heart with so much joy and love.
Josh's AAV coming off the boat onto the beach (butterflies were at their peak for me at this point)

Almost home!!! 

The above photo was my first view of Josh after 8 months.  I have never felt so happy, nervous and excited all at once.

Home home home!!!! Never letting go!

We kicked off the "Josh is home" festivities with a trip to the Dominican Republic.  We spent a week on the beach lounging around in the sun with a tropical drink in our hands.  It was exactly what we both needed after 8 months apart and was a great chance to celebrate our one year anniversary (since we were apart for it last November).

This was our view for a week.  I know it looks fake or like a painting, but this is real and there is #nofilter ;)

While there we ziplined, kayaked and got to experience a little bit of a hurricane.  The hurricane turned out to be more of a tropical storm and it pretty much bypassed us.  And as a shock to many, I went swimming in the OCEAN!! Yes, its true!  Typically, I HATE going in the ocean.  I've lived in SoCal for almost 3 years and I've never been in the ocean here.  I absolutely LOVE the beach but I hate the water.  It's cold, there are gross fish in there, its salty and I can't see the bottom.   I'm a great swimmer but there is just something about the ocean that grosses me out and frankly scares me.  However,  give me a warm ocean that is crystal clear, turquoise blue and I will go swimming, more than once!  It was glorious!

Where we spent most of our days, the cabanas!

Josh was quite a fan of the cabanas... aka "nap time"
This beach lover was in beach HEAVEN!

Post Ziplining.  Take note of the huge smiles! Such a fun time!
Traveling thru the city, exploring 

Last day in paradise! Boo!

A summer wouldn't be complete without a few weddings.  We got to travel to Santa Barbara for a gorgeous wedding of good friend of Josh's, Stephanie "formerly" Rogers now "Ayers".  The wedding was at a home on the cliffs of Santa Barbara overlooking the ocean.  The views were stunning and I felt like I was at a swanky celebrity party.  It made Josh and I want to move to Santa Barbara, to a house overlooking the ocean naturally (we can dream right?).  Well even if we can't exactly afford a house here, we will definitely be back to vacation.

The breathtaking views from the Ayers wedding.  I swear it was something from "The Bachelor".  The only thing missing was a helicopter ;)

A pool that overlooks the Pacific Ocean?  Check!

There was another epic Sullivan wedding with my cousin Jessica and her now husband Edgar.  They got married at the gorgeous USD Cathedral (where Jessica went to school) and had their reception at the San Diego Marina.  Anytime all the Sullivan's get together you know its going to be a good time with lots of fun stories.  I love my crazy family; boy do we know how to tear up a dance floor.

One of my favorite moments that night was when my cousin's son, Michael, decided to burn off some little boy energy by running in the courtyard during the speeches.  After every speech when everyone would clap he would come to his mom and say "Mom, they're cheering for me!" and she would say "I know sweetie, good job!  Keep running!"  Which, I might add, was a BRILLIANT idea!  And Josh, being the little kid at heart that he is, decided to get in on fun and did a few laps with him.  So cute!

Beautiful view from the reception of the San Diego Marina
Alright, so that gets us thru the summer 2013 (yes this is very belated).  Part 2 will hopefully get us thru the holidays.  Note to self, keep up on your blog posts.