Monday, July 21, 2008

Mexico

Okay, folks. I apologize in advance, for this is going to be one long photo essay. The long and short of our vacation is this: it could have been better, but it could have been worse, too. I ended up in a Mexican hospital with a nasty stomach bug and dehydration, but I am fine now. Really. So, without further adieu (that word makes me want to watch Sound of Music!), let me show you the highlights from our vacaciones interesante:
Hanging out in the pool. It was so cute -- Jack walked all over the place in the shallow end in his floatie. He's a complete water boy. Though I hope he's not a water boy when he grows up -- I'm hoping for starting quarterback or something like that. :-)

The Ninja Turtle pond. It actually did have some turtles in it, but they were not as cool as the grand foursome of my childhood.


This is what our ping-pong ball at the hotel looked like.....

But we managed to have a good time anyway.



Aunt Cheryl loves rocks.


They build houses right on top of the rock. Resourceful people in Cabo.

The ladies at Romeo and Julieta's.
Posing in my new Ann Taylor Loft dress. It is officially the most comfortable thing I have ever worn, perfect for traveling, and at $19.99, an absolute steal. RUN folks, don't walk, to the nearest ATL and get one for yourself!

My son is so beautiful it takes my breath away sometimes!

I couldn't have survived this trip without my mom.
Here is the not-so-safe-I-would-never-use-in-the-States crib at the hotel. It made me grateful for U.S. safety standards!

I think this is my favorite photo from the whole vacation. Jack's first time at the beach, assisted by his Great-Aunt Cheryl.
We went ambling (more like dragging for me since I still felt weak from the hospital) down the beach toward these rocks.
Behind Mom is the strangest hotel I've ever seen. I think it belongs on the Star Wars planet Tattooin. Forgive my spelling, Becca. I know you don't care, but you're married to the resident SW expert, so I'm just covering my bases.
The rocks were pretty interesting -- so many nooks and crannies to squeeze into. It made me want to lose weight.
I love this picture. The spray was so beautiful shooting up against the rocks.


I don't know why, but I dig iguanas with sombreros. Fascinating creatures.

As we were walking through the mall, we found Bully's cafe. Bully was too cute for me to resist. Hey, I'm a former Bulldog myself!
Mom finds a wild friend. Good colors for the zebra, don't you think? Adios!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Introducing Grandma Annie

Let me introduce you all to my in-law grandmother Anna Ruzicka. I first came to know this wonderful woman when Nick and I were dating. Nick told me he wanted to introduce me to a very special lady in his life. He took me to a house on Potter Street in Eugene. A petite elderly woman opened the door and immediately said, "Oh my God! My Nickolas!" and touched his face. "Oh my God", which Grandma Annie utters about 2,000 times in one day, is her favorite expression.
Grandma Annie has such a cool life story. She is from Czechoslovakia and adores "the old country," as she calls it. She ran cross country and track in high school, but her family had to cross the mountains to escape the Russians after WWII, kind of like in the Sound of Music. They snow-skiied to safety, and since she was the fastest, her job was to catch rabbits for food during the journey. With no gun.

Can you imagine?

She also fell into the river one day while running away from the Russians. She kept quiet enough to lose them, but lost a ski in the frigid water. She skiied on 1 foot the rest of the time.

Grandma Annie isn't actually Nick's real grandma. She became best friends with Nick's grandma Fran in America, and when Fran passed away before Nick was born, Annie promised to take over grandmothering duties. And she did. Nick has such fond memories of watching "Price is Right" with her in the mornings, walking over to her house after school, walking her little dogs, and so many other things.

When Annie first met me, she told how beautiful I was and that Nick talked to her about me all the time. He had been telling her since our freshman year that he was going to marry me. "And now he will!" she beamed. "My Nickolas always tells the truth." She gazed at him fondly. I felt inspired by such love that wasn't even blood-related.

Grandma Annie recently fell in her home and has been in rehab the past few weeks. Jack and I went to visit her yesterday. She'd already met Jack, but she fell in love with him all over again and told me she hasn't found a boyfriend in the dining hall yet, nor a sugar daddy. Her sense of humor cracks me up, and she has the biggest heart. She never misses a birthday or anniversary, and she loves hearing every last little detail of our lives. She grows carnivorous geraniums and loves her animals, even the wild squirrels in her backyard.

I love her dearly. She is such a treasure.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Seattle

So off this week Jack and I went to Seattle with Jeanea and Owen. Joey just so happened to be there for his job training. One day we went to the Space Needle and Experience the Music Project. It was so much fun! I highly recommend EMP -- I got to play the drums and totally beat Owen at this teach-you-to-drum game. I would love to go with Dustin sometime -- he would completely dig it!
We ate lunch right outside the Monorail station. I had a favorite meal from my freshman year -- a Thai chicken wrap from World Wrapps. It was just as good as I remembered.

On the Seattle Monorail. I'd never ridden it before, but it was a lot of fun and fairly affordable.
video

What a beautiful stroller smile!


Jack enjoying the webcam chair. You could listen to lots of museum info in it. It was super comfy.

Strawberry and chocolate go well together!

Owen poses with the Terminator. Apparently, it's a big deal for boys.

The outside of the building was so cool!

And now on to the Shipley's house in Everett.

So uh, you play here often? This is Jack with Alaina's daughter Ariannah. They're 11 days apart.

My boy the little Casanova. Nick teaches him well, even across the Pacific. Jack reached for Ariannah's hand, no prodding needed.
Wanna ring, baby?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Olympic Trials

Last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to attend the Olympic Trials at historic Hayward Field. It was an absolute blast and an experience that I would love to replicate in 2012 when they come back.

video
We got to see the men's high jump, women's hammer throw, men's steeplechase, women's and men's hurdles, and the women's 200 meters.

Here's Jaimie and Jeanea in our suite. The waitstaff was outstanding, and so was the lemonade. :-)
video

Steve and Kathi came with us.
Here was the view from where we sat. The high jump was closest.


It absolutely blows my mind how fast these people can run over hurdles!
video
video

See the guys in mid-jump? It's the craziest thing! High jump was my favorite event.


videoWe also got to watch a very Eugenian-looking man win the steeplchase. Afterward, he stripped to his track skivvies and gave everything else to people in the crowd.

Track people are crazy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July!

But first, a quick note about Father's Day. I took Dad and Grandpa to an Ems game for their presents. We had great seats -- front row, first-base line, right on top of the dugout. We lost 1-0, but the 3 of us had a great time together. It makes me feel so old to look at the players and realize most of them are younger than me now!
And now on to my tied-for-1st-place favorite holiday, Independence Day! Creswell absolutely does a fabulous job from morning 'til night, although the hordes of people from out of town are beginning to make less enjoyable. Honestly people, Creswell for Creswellians! :-)

Elsa and Mallory and Olivia had great fun running after candy and watching the floats. E's getting much more aggressive as she gets older. Hopefully she'll take out that aggression on a volleyball someday.


video


Jack insisted on having his picture taken with everyone. He's quite the camera lover, just like....hmm, which parent do you think?

He looked so dang cute! Also just like the not-aforementioned parent.

Owen looks thrilled to be holding a baby, don't you think?

My little model. He learned all of this from Nick, I promise. Well, at least that's where he gets his luscious lashes from.

But I guess the parade and games in the park were a little much for him.

And now the shindig! 102 people attended this year, including Shelbea and Dustin.

Jack even came prepared with a 4th of July bib.

Last, we had a softball game in the field. My team lost unfortunately 7-4. Here's Jaimie and Chris Leslie. I'm not sure what Jaimie's doing, but she's doing it well.

Jonathan graced us with his now-half-European presence and mane of looong hair and joined in the fun.

video

The softball game was super fun. We even had a guy there from the Netherlands playing! How American. I'm so grateful that we live in a country where get to live this kind of life -- one where we can celebrate and worship and play baseball and laugh and vote and love whomever we want.

God bless America!