Giving LA A Second Chance

Well, today didn’t exactly start out on the right foot and despite the fact that I was equipped with a map, gps, AND instructions from the rental car guy, I still managed to get lost in LA. Again.

Strike 2, LA.

That being said, I eventually found my way to Santa Monica & the day quickly turned into something exciting and memorable.

The photo shoot went great, without a single hiccup, and it was really wonderful to meet these people I talk with so many times a day. Plus I got to feel über important, flying out to LA for a photo shoot ;).

We enjoyed a nice lunch in a ridiculously loud restaurant, I got to see some homeless man flexing his guns for a dime, and wrapped up our meeting being hit on by a guy in Starbucks who so generously offered to let me go ahead of him in the bathroom line. And I quote “you won’t want to go in there after me anyway.”

Who said chivalry is dead?

Now I’m enjoying a quiet afternoon soaking up the sun, sitting on a park bench by the beach. Not a bad way to end my day and de-stress before I head back to take on the LA airport again. Not that I was really stressed to begin with.

Oh – I almost forgot to mention the lady who attached a cat bed to her walker!! California is packed with ingenious people:

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All in all I think LA has redeemed itself. Plus when I got lost I actually got to see the Hollywood sign – pretty cool!!

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The Cell Phone Saves The Day: Christmas Eve

I left the camera at home on Christmas Eve. Along with my entire purse. Oh well I guess – thanks to Zach’s cell phone (mine was also in my purse…) we got some mediocre pics from the night. Although I must say, these photos don’t really do the evening justice.

We started the evening with a wonderful dinner followed by the ever exciting gift exchange:

Gregg & Shannan

Matthew Examining the Snowman

The Monkey Hat

Matthew's New Drum Set

Zach's New Skull Brush (lol)

Jim's Italian Cooking Bible

Papa Opening Gifts

Matthew Assisting in the Gift Opening

I wish we had gotten some more pictures but at least there are some good memories here in the ones we did get. We ended the evening eating way too many brownies – what an awesome night.

I do want to say a special THANK YOU to Jim & Terrie for the wonder gift I received. That’s the first time I’ve ever received a gift that made cry (happy tears of course) – thank you for making this holiday even more special.

Now – to end the year with a BANG – heading out to go prepare for a fun evening with friends (at home, since Matthew’s fake ID isn’t good enough to get into the bars).

 

Of Resolutions & Such…

I hate New Years resolutions because I never keep them. It’s exciting for the first month or two having a new goal, but by March at the latest I usually stop caring. So, this year I’ve decided to set easily achievable goals for 2012 as my “Official New Years Resolutions” and then today figure out a plan for the more important things, starting today (December 30, still in 2011, so NOT a new years resolution). If they aren’t actually labeled “resolutions,” or if I can accomplish them before March rolls around perhaps there is a better chance I can live up to my own high expectations.

So, here goes nothing…

THE OFFICIAL 2012 NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS:

1 – Wear red lipstick. Yep. None of that crappy red lip gloss stuff either – full-blown whintening-toothpaste-commercial red. I suppose the big question here is how I should really present myself with the red lips. Maybe pull my hair back and wear creepy eyeshadow. Perhaps I can also rock a cheap guitar and pretend like I’m part of the Robert Palmer “Addicted to Love” music video?

Nah – I’m thinking like a closeup of my mouth – I’ll just make that the background for my blog homepage. Something mildly provocative but kind of creepy at the same time? Almost Rocky-Horror-Picture-Show-Esque?

However, the true challenge in this resolution is actually making the red lipstick work, which required beautiful teeth. I’ve spent the last couple months in preparation for this already, becoming somewhat obsessed with my teeth. Fingers crossed by my birthday I’ll be able to rock these red babies.

2 – Stop looking at my cell phone in the car (while driving). I’m guilty despite the horrific videos they seem to play on the news each morning, or those commercials & billboards meant to scare the crap out of you enough to STOP texting while driving. Although I’ll admit that at one point I actually did post on Facebook, while driving, ABOUT one of those billboards. I suppose that was not the desired effect. Anyway, despite my horrible habit of feeling the need to constantly be connected to the world (although most of you don’t care about the fact that I saw that cow getting the crap scared out of him by a flock of birds) I hereby vow to stop using my phone entirely while driving from now on. That includes quick glances – my car DOES have a working clock, so there are no excuses. So for anyone trying to reach me while I’m in my car from now on, I apologize in advance that you’ll just have to wait.

3 – Reduce the frequency of swear words flying out of my mouth. I have a mouth like a sailor and don’t even realize it sometimes. I don’t want Matthew blurting out these terrible words so I better get this under control.

4 – Learn a new language. This one I don’t think I can achieve before March. Perhaps this would be better off in my December list? I haven’t yet decided WHAT language to learn, although I’m starting to lean more towards Spanish primarily because it will come him helpful here in the US and then also help me a lot with my job where I deal with people who speak Spanish every single day. But none of that ghetto Spanish, I’m thinking like Spain-Spanish. Besides, if I can learn Spanish and talk without my ridiculous white-girl-accent, then I’ll feel more confident learning a more challenging language.

Well, that’s about it. Four basic goals for 2012, 3 of which I’m pretty sure I can knock out before my interest fades. Wish me luck 🙂

Christmas Day Love

I know I’ve skipped Christmas Eve, but I’m still kicking myself in the butt for forgetting our camera that night. As soon as I forgive myself I will get whatever semi-decent photos we have on our cell phones and share with you all.

In the meantime…

Christmas has a lot of special memories for me, but oddly when I think back through previous years I don’t really recall many Christmas gifts. That’s not because I wasn’t grateful, but rather because there were more important memories hogging up all my brain space. For example, SPAGHETTI. Except one year when Sam & I got Bouncer & Sprocket – I’ll never forget that Christmas.

This year mom was in Singapore celebrating the holidays with my dad, so we spent Christmas day at home with Sam and had a really wonderful day. We opened gifts in the afternoon after a very lazy morning (having a baby who is too young to get excited about Christmas does have its perks…) and then enjoyed a really awesome dinner of spaghetti thanks to my MomMom’s killer spaghetti recipe that dad was so kind to hand down to me. Although I’m sure he’s regretting it now since mine has turned out far better than his ever did 😉 (love you dad).

Below are some photos from our day – in forewarning you will be witnessing a lot of visual sarcasm here since apparently my desire to record our day was comical to some… (Sam):

That last picture is our attempt at creme brulee for the first time. But since we don’t have a mini torch we were using a lighter lol. Still tasted great!

All of the photos from Christmas day are online in the Flickr Christmas collection.

Christmas Eve-Eve with Gil & Lynda

Our fourth Christmas celebration was on Friday night, which we barely made it to thanks to a nasty stomach bug that was infecting our family. Poor Matthew was so sick I honestly didn’t believe we’d make it down to Denver. But luckily we did, and when we were there he was having so much fun he must have completely forgotten he wasn’t feeling well!

As the only mini-Armijo right now Matthew got his fair share of gifts (plus enough to make all the children in the entire neighborhood happy). I know he’s still too young to appreciate all of the thought that goes behind the gifts he had fun throwing around, but it didn’t escape Zach and I, so for all of you reading this, I hope you know how much we appreciate the wonderful gifts you gave to us all and I promise that there are some photos for you in the mail this week :).

Here are a few photos from the evening, and I’m sure you’ll notice somewhat immediately that Matthew was rather generous with his love that evening – I was floored that almost everyone had a chance to hold a very willing Matthew that night!

Uncle Gregg & Matthew

The Fam

Arm wrestling after dinner

Erick & Matthew

Shannan, Gregg, Erick & Zach looking at an amazing photo album

Pimpin' his new hoodie

Matthew hugging his new sled (lol)

Opening up gifts

Examining Uncle Gregg's Nose...

Lorrie & Matthew

Erick & Zach

Matthew & Lucio

All of the photos from this evening will be uploaded to Flickr for those of you who want to see or save any of your own 🙂 Everything is still uploading now, but if you wait a while here is the link to the Christmas collection.

Christmas Part III: Nona’s Play

Christmas seems to come with a crazy number of parties and events. When all is said and done I believe we’ll be at “Christmas Part VI” if not more. Just because we go all out each year doesn’t mean that each day isn’t as special as the next though. Zach’s amazing family is so large that the holiday celebrations typically span over 2-3 days alone, then we have time with my mom and brother and of course those I work with and have learned to consider family due to the insane amount of time we spend together (willingly, I might add). Lastly is Christmas Day – reserved for our own growing family to build new traditions that will one day be appreciated by Matthew when he’s old enough to care about more than all the cool ribbons in my wrapping supply boxes.

Our third Christmas celebration was with my mom and brother – a bit earlier this year than normal but only to accommodate a much needed trip to Singapore to visit my dad for the holidays. She’s arrived safe & sound today I might add. Matthew got a little tent that has become the new favorite in the house – who knows how much time he spends in there. In fact, he’s quietly organizing his collection of pipe cleaners inside his tent as I write this now. Decoration I assume.

The evening started out with a lot of delicious food and my first taste of apple cider (yes, odd I know but it’s true). We then exchanged gifts and spent some time joking and laughing before leaving to go watch mom in her (second) debut as Mistletoe Mary. I tried very hard to get some good photos but between a difficult camera and a horrible photographer behind the camera, I didn’t really get anything too great. However, for your viewing pleasure:

MISTLETOE MARY!

Again, my apologies for the poor photo quality here – but I think you get the idea lol.

Overall it was a really wonderful night. Matthew got to spend some time in a daycare for the very first time, and we drove home crammed in my little car enjoying a late dinner from Chipotle.

Some more photos for your viewing pleasure:

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Christmas Part II: White Elephant

Maybe that’s the wrong term – White Elephant. Anyway – we drew names and bought the most ridiculous gifts for one another. While this is only the second year we’ve done it, I think it’s somewhat of a tradition and gives us a reason to stop working and spend an hour or two laughing at each other.

This year the gifts included a Twilight calendar (after a conversation about being too cool for teenager love flicks), a Bill Clinton corkscrew, an X-Rated dot-to-dot book, lottery tickets and a silly magical orb (among others):

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Christmas Part I – The Limo Ride

I suppose technically this would be part 2 since I have already been to one other Christmas party. But since I didn’t get any photos and Zach wasn’t with me we’ll just consider this the start of the Christmas Partying Season.

This last Friday was our Boba Christmas Party – complete with a limo full of intoxicated partygoers. Having never been in a limo before, I’m not sure what my favorite part was… riding in the limo, or the actual party itself?

Here are some of the photos from our festivities, although there are more to come once I harass everyone else for copies from their cameras – at which point I will complete the Flickr album 🙂

And here’s a “Cheers” in advance to the many, many more holiday plans we have already on the schedule. Including, but not limited to the 17th, 18th, 23rd, 24th and 25th…

Party on!

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Matthew’s First Sled

Last Christmas Uncle Sam gave Matthew a sled, but unfortunately the combination of a) Matthew being quite young, b) my complete distaste for the cold and c) the lack of infant snow gear led us to NEVER using the sled. But, this year is different now that Matthew is old enough to appreciate the new experiences and I’m willing to take on the cold weather in small doses. This afternoon we took the sled out in the backyard for a test drive – this was Matthew’s first time on a sled AND his first time really experiencing snow:

The Best De-Stressors of ALL TIME

Typically I don’t “steal” information from other bloggers or websites, but occassionally I come across something that is just too good to pass up. Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you should take the advice from a 2 year old and de-stress in ways you just normally wouldn’t think of…

    1. Challenge yourself every day. Try climbing the stairs carrying two soccer balls while wearing your father’s shoes. Remember, failure IS an option.

    2. De-clutter! Start by throwing all your dishes in the garbage. After that I suggest toothbrushes and important paper work.

    3. Pee on the floor and stomp in it like a puddle. You’ll be shocked how much better you feel.

    4. Whether the glass is half empty or half full is irrelevant if you dump it out on the sofa. You’re welcome.

    5. If you’re feeling aggressive, or just bored, scream in a cat’s face.

    6. Don’t ever be afraid to hand someone an ice cube while they’re on the toilet. That stuff is cold. You don’t have to be in pain!

    7. Socks are poison. Trust me, don’t wear them! Happiness will soon follow!

    8. Pound on a computer keyboard like Jerry Lee Lewis playing the piano. Feel better? I thought so. Great Balls of Fire!

    9. If you fall down, stay down. Someone will pick you up eventually.

    10. Quick thrills fuel the heart. Have you learned to delete things off the DVR yet? DO IT. It’s AwWwWwEsOmE.

    11. Seize the day and the night and the middle of the night and the early morning. Seize everything, y’all! Never stop seizing stuff.

    12. Tired of looking at yourself in the mirror? So was I until I met my friend permanent marker. FACE TATTOOS ARE RAD.

    13. This might be a tough one, but you gotta trust me: Take a crap in the tub. It’s surreal.

    14. Live in the moment because there is nothing else. Seriously, there isn’t. Not that I’m aware of at least.

    15. If you’re gonna run, do it at top speed, man. Life is too short to walk in the mall.

    16. I’ve seen God, and his name is iPad. Let us pray.

This is all courtesy of Jason Good 365  – thank you for getting my day off to an AWESOME start.