Some pics from the trip home

OK, I know I’m doing this totally backwards (working on pics from our drive home tonight first), but I’m left-handed and tend to do things a bit differently. I’ve also been known to read magazines backwards.

Honestly, I took a ton of pics on JUST our drive home tonight (Jody was driving – phew!) ;). I filled my memory card and even had to go back and delete some pics so I’d have more room to play. After reading a bit in a couple photography magazines (backwards, of course), I got inspired and decided to play around with exposure using the sunset and then with car headlights. My experimenting produced some neat results.

Here are some of us on the way home and then a couple of my “playing” pics. 🙂 Click the pics to see them larger.

Ava – just waking up after a nap in the car:

Jody – looking so cool while driving:

The plains of Colorado and me – in the sideview mirror (Honestly, that picture is mostly of me – the view is not of anything in particular. I just thought it was cool to catch myself in the mirror.):

The sunset tonight in Colorado (purposely underexposed):

Car and traffic lights at night (long exposure):

Home again

Lots to post about (and some pics to share) in the next few days, but this is just a short one to let you know we made it home safely.
A good time was had by all, but it will be good to get back into our routine and we’ll all be happy to sleep in our own bed again tonight. 🙂

Just a quickie

Our visit continues to go well. 🙂 We’ve decided to extend our stay by a day since Jody found out he gets Monday off of work anyway. So we’ll drive over to Wichita tomorrow (Monday), visit with Jody’s sister and family, then get back on the road for a few hours. We’ll stop somewhere along the way for the night, then head the rest of the way home on Tuesday.
It will be much nicer to make the trip home in two days instead of one loooooooong day. 🙂
Hope everyone is staying warm. It’s been so cold here with freezing rain and snow and we’re missing snow and even colder temps back home in CO too. The roads, however, should be fine for the trip home.

Safe and sound in OKC

We arrived safely in Oklahoma last night (technically this morning) around 1 a.m. It was a loooong, loooooooong drive, just cuz it is over 700 miles, but the weather cooperated and Ava did well other than when she was really tired and needed to nap, but kept fighting sleep.

We spent the night in a hotel and have spent the day today at my in-laws’ house. All of the cousins weren’t able to make it, but we saw some of them here and hope to stop in Wichita on our way home to see the rest.

My mother-in-law was kind enough to indulge our new vegetarian lifestyle and found some tasty vegetarian meals to make for us. We had potato soup for lunch and veggie tacos, tostadas, beans and all the fixins for dinner. Mmmmm.

Tonight and for the rest of the time we are here, we’re staying with my friend’s parents here in OKC. (We aren’t able to stay with my in-laws because of my cat allergies.) We had been planning on sucking up the cost of a hotel, but then my friend offered her parents’ house to us and we took her up on it. It will be nice to save some $$ that way.

Ava’s been having a good time so far. She played with her cousins, and has been enjoying me-maw and paw-paw’s two dogs as well. Now she’s running around playing with some balloons paw-paw gave her, while me-maw draws animals on her aquadoodle. Ava hasn’t napped at all today (and hasn’t eaten much either – too busy to sit still I think) so we’re hoping she’ll go to sleep early tonight. We could all use the extra sleep.

The freezing rain has started here so we’re leaving my in-laws’ soon for the night.

I’ll likely stop in to post again at some point. Ya just can’t keep me away from my blog. 😉

Snow and headin’ out

Since we are planning on driving to Oklahoma tomorrow to see the in-laws, of course we are getting dumped on with snow tonight. Unless it looks really bad in the morning, we still plan to make the trip. So please think “no more snow vibes” for us tonight and then “safe (and happy Ava) traveling vibes” tomorrow. 🙂

I may check in and blog while we’re away, but we’ll see how it goes.

Hope everyone has a nice week and I’ll be back again on Monday. 🙂

Updated at 9:20 a.m. to add:
We had too much snow to make an early go of it this morning. So we’re going to try to head out shortly now, assuming the roads have been cleared and we will miss rush-hour traffic in Denver.

Valentine Pizza and “chock-lit”

Inspired by Jess of “Get Sconed!” and her heart-shaped vegan shortbread Valentine’s cookies, I decided to make a heart-shaped pizza for dinner. My pizza was not vegan, but it was vegetarian (and yummy). I tried out some veggie pepperoni for the first time and, while I didn’t like eating it right out of the package, it was pretty good on the pizza. In addition to the veggie pepperoni, I also put on shredded carrots, red swiss chard, tomato sauce and monterrey jack cheese. It was quite a tasty dinner. 🙂

The heart-shaped dough:

With the veggie pepperoni:

Topped with all the fixins and ready to bake:

The finished pizza, hot out of the oven:

Recalling my disappointment last Valentine’s day when all Jody got me was a card, this year he got me a card AND a box of Belgian chocolates. 🙂 I was a happy girl. Chocolate (in any form) really is the key to my heart. I think it’s the key to Ava’s too. We let her have a few bites and soon after she said, “more chock-lit?”

After our feast of heart-shaped pizza and “chock-lit,” Jody and I watched Saving Face tonight. IMDB description: “A Chinese-American lesbian and her traditionalist mother are reluctant to go public with secret loves that clash against cultural expectations.” And one reviewer on Netflix said, “It’s a story of the relationship between a mother and daughter, and their search for love in the face of family and societial expectations.” I liked it. It was quite good and different from the norm.

Hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s day. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day

I recently had a 10×20 storyboard printed of this (without the words) to hang in our livingroom. I threw the words on it to add a little Valentine’s flair. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

We don’t do much to celebrate V’day around here, so I’m not expecting any presents (even though I secretly want them). 😉 We did get a package from my parents yesterday with some reese’s peanut butter cups (mmmmm), as well as clothes, a book and stickers for Ava.

Hope you all have a nice day. 🙂

Hittin’ the road and the “Cyborg”

We’re heading out of town this week (leaving Thursday morning) for five days – driving down to Oklahoma to see my in-laws and all of Ava’s cousins. 🙂 It’s been a looooong time since she’s seen her cousins – uh, since Thanksgiving 2004! – so it will be lots of fun for her I’m sure, especially now that she can walk and run with the best of them.

We haven’t attempted a driving trip this long (10 hours without stops) since that long ago (Thanksgiving ’04) as well and I hope and pray this trip is easier than that one was. I am optimistic that it will be since a) Ava is facing forwards in her carseat now and b) we can read books and play games and be a lot more interactive with her than we could when she was only 5 months old.

Also, the last time we made that trip we ran into a HORRIBLE snow/ice storm on our way home which slowed us down considerably and made for some white-knuckle driving for Jody. Light snow is expected during our traveling days this time as well, but hopefully it will only be light snow and nothing more.

A friend of Jody’s will be dog-sitting (yay!) so we don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to board the critters.

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In other news, we had a pretty nice weekend. I felt much better as the day progressed on Friday after my morning from hell and even made up a sesame tofu dish for Jody’s birthday dinner, as well as made brownies. I didn’t write down what I put into the sesame tofu, but if I recreate it again I will be sure and jot it down. It was quite tasty.

On Saturday, went to a pizza place for Jody’s birthday meal out. We were going to pick up a cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory on the way home, but decided against it since I made brownies the day before. Will have to save the cheesecake for another day. Then we spent some time hanging out with our friends.

While we were at the pizza place, the manager brought out a garbage bag full of toys for Ava to pick one. She pulled out a plush Cyborg doll from Teen Titans whom she calls “man.” He looks like this, only as a plush “doll.” Jody thought that was pretty cool that she got something other than a dog or a bear and, while I thought it was weird at first, I have to agree. It’s nice to have some diversity in her toys. I would never pick out a cyborg for her myself, but I’m glad she’s got one now. He already seems to be one of Ava’s favorites – rivaled only by “baby.” 🙂

The rest of the weekend was spent working a fair amount on my new photography website for my business. I still have more to do (including bulk up my portfolio), but it’s coming along really nicely, thanks largely to Jody’s help. Hooray for tech savvy hubbies.

Happy birthday, Jody – I’m sick AGAIN! :(

So much for a fun birthday for Jody today. I got hit by ANOTHER wave of this evil rotavirus (or whatever it is) bug early this morning. After clinging to the toilet as I hurled the remains of my dinner (why is it always tempeh??), I left him a message on his work voicemail (he was on his way into work via the bus) telling him I was really sick and might need him to come home.
Being the good guy that he is, he got the message and, soon after, caught another bus home, just missing my call saying that I was doing a bit better and that he could stay at work.
Anyway, at least now he doesn’t have to work on his birthday. You might say I did him a favor. 😉
I’m really sick (no pun intended) of this damn virus though. This morning’s bout was the worst yet, and even more unbearable because Ava woke up while I was being sick, wandered into the bathroom crying and calling “mommy” over and over again, and there was little I could do to comfort her since I was spewing my guts. I felt so bad for her. It’s hard to be sick yourself when you have little ones who need you. I really hope she doesn’t catch it again.
In talking with other people who seem to have gone through this same virus, I’ve learned it can recur several times before you are truly done with it. Blah. I hope this is the last of it for me.

Hope you all stay well and free of this nasty bug. Enjoy the weekend!

Good news about the gas co., Ava, etc.

I’m full of good news today. 🙂

First off, I got an email from someone at Xcel Energy to apologize that nobody filled me in on what was going on with my account (despite the fact that I was emailing back and forth with one of their “customer service” people who never bothered to bring this up). He said that while our averaged monthly bill has gone up, it’s only gone up $10/month!! The big bill we just had was the reconciling at the end of the year (which I was aware of), but our next bill should only be for $10 more than what we were paying last year. This, of course, wasn’t noted on our last bill so I had no idea! The only amount on there seemed to indicate that our monthly bill had gone up over $100. So what a relief that was!!
I guess we can stop scrimping on our heat quite as much now. Good thing too cuz I’ve been freezing and it’s supposed to be a cold, snowy weekend around here.

In other news, Ava seems to be doing much better, don’t ya think? 😉 (I took these pics today as she tore up the livingroom – the kid went from one kind of the “runs” to another 😉 – and then we played a little dress-up – for mommy’s benefit.) The diarrhea finally stopped after what seemed like ages, though it was really only about four days. And today she got her appetite back. Yay!



And lastly, Jody’s birthday is tomorrow. He has to work so we don’t have big plans for the day, but I got him a few presents (or I’m just saying that so he’ll think I did) and we will probably go out to eat on Saturday as well as pick up a cheesecake for dessert from The Cheesecake Factory. Yummy!

In food news, I made a couple new dishes this week – roasted carrot pasta and fettucine with a tomato, artichoke, tempeh sauce (yes, I’m giving tempeh another chance). The tomato/artichoke/tempeh thing I threw together tonight off the cuff and it actually was really good. I’ll post the recipes and pics this weekend.