Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Birthday Celebration with "OVO"

It was William's birthday this past Saturday and we managed to make it great despite of his busy schedule. William had a rough week at work, staying up until 3:30 every night (including Friday night) getting a big project and presentation done. I was able to tear him away from work for several hours that day to go to the new touring Cirque Du Soleil show in San Jose "OVO." The story was centered around an egg. Yes, an egg. It never hatched so we have no idea what was inside. The characters were all dressed up like insects- my favorite were the grasshoppers who had these bent legs that moved behind them. They also had a spider, lady bug, dragon fly, and many more insects that we couldn't identify. The show featured several contortionists, a yo-yo juggler (one of those big spools you can spin on threads), and aerial acrobatics. Our favorites were the kiwi ball feet spinning by several women, who would exchange kiwis while spinning and then also they would exchange PEOPLE on their feet while those individuals were still spinning the kiwis. Unbelievable. I also liked the tight rope walker who managed to ride a bike with his hands across a bent wire. But, the BEST number was the finale where they had several guys jumping around the stage on trampolines and interacting with the climbing wall behind them. Some of them got enough height to go from the top of the wall to the tramp and back to STANDING position. Incredible. There were also several times were 3 of them would be circulating on each trampoline, narrowly missing each other. We don't want to know how many collisions happened before they were in sync. We have both now seen several Cirque shows and what continues to amaze us is how they keep re-inventing tricks and performing them in a new way so that it is even more unbelievable at how people could do this. All in all, it was a good show.

We then went to PF Chang's for dinner and had their price fix dinner-for-two menu (which we highly recommend). William was the recipient of several gifts this year, including a special one of a Playstation 3. He is so good and never wants very much and I was so happy that I was able to surprise him with it (especially considering he gets text alerts of "big" purchases- it fortunately came on the day of his b-day so it didn't ruin the surprise :-). Our families were also so generous to him, giving him several video games and spending money. I hope you had a fabulous birthday William because YOU totally DESERVE it!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's 2010

I actually really liked having Valentine's Day on a Sunday because I felt that we spent both Saturday and Sunday celebrating. William picked a Hellenic restaurant called Dio Deka in Los Gatos. He has actually never been to Los Gatos before and it immediately became one of our favorite towns in the area. It is so quaint and charming- too bad that real estate prices is so out of control there (although we did look online afterwards- that's how much we liked it). We first went to Icing on the Cake for some treats for Sunday- I got their take on the Hostess cupcake (which is SO SO much better)(although I was sad they were out of lemon) and then a peanut butter caramello. The restaurant is housed in this super adorable hotel. It reminds me of a villa along the southern coast of Europe.

We were one of the first reservations of the night, which we liked since it was before the dinner rush. The food was INCREDIBLE. Everything we had was amazing- the biggest surprise of the night was lamb meatballs. They were delicious- with the best sauce. We shared all of the items below, including some warm herbed pita bread and seasoned olives.

Appetizer Medley- lamb meatballs, spanakotiropita, bacon wrapped scallops, and dolmathes
Roasted Tomato Soup
Manuori Rollo- spinach filled pasta with cheese (to quote William: "I never knew that this much spinach could taste so good!)
Two Sides
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Orzo pasta with burnt butter and Myzithra cheese
Baklava with Banana Gelato

It was such an amazing evening- William truly did a fantastic job planning it. This was the fountain outside of the restaurant after dinner.

I know that this part is really sappy but William makes me feel like it is Valentine's Day every day. He makes me laugh every single day- even when we aren't even in the same country. He always puts my wants and needs before his own, letting me decide most of the time where to eat and what activities we should do together. He works so hard to be such an amazing provider. He teaches me what unconditional love and service means. I am so happy that I get to be with him forever :-) I love you William!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Valentine Sugar Cookies

I used to be really into cake decorating in high school and college. I took even took a course at our local craft store. But when I went to Boston for school, I didn't take my cake decorating stuff because I didn't have as much time (nor space) to have it. I only brought my tools back this Christmas. So I wanted to try a recipe where I could use my pastry bags and tips, along with some of the decorator squeeze bottles I got. I chose to do sugar cookies with royal icing. I was very inspired to try this due to all of the beautifully decorated cookies I saw on this blog- Confections of a Bakeaholic. She uses these recipes for the cookies and icing. Too cute. I have never used royal icing before (I'm more of a buttercream gal) so I think I did an ok job for my first time. I have definitely lost my stability with the pastry bag, as you can see with my jagged edges along the sides, so I need MUCH more practice as I am super super rusty.

I gave some to my primary kids and to some friends- I really liked the thicker ones that I did. The cookie held up really nicely and was soft but not crumbly.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Productivity Declines

I absolutely LOVE the Olympics. But they do result in a decline in my productivity. I have no desire to do anything else but watch the games. I really do get so emotionally involved with them. I get so worked up when the races are close- I am screaming and cheering, my heart still racing after the races are over. I have shed tears several times during the montages of the athletes and the struggle that they have gone through: their triumphs and disappointments. I was especially touched by the Chinese skating couple who performed first in the short program. The have been partners for years and he ruptured his Achilles tendon and they had to take a break. But, he recovered and they got married and wanted to come back and perform one more time for the elusive gold medal. They were first and absolutely gave the performance of their lifetime. It was absolutely flawless- perfectly in sync with each other- which deeply touched me because it reflected the intensity of their love. What a perfect story for Valentines. I am so looking forward to the next few weeks!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Teaching Opportunity

I received some amazing news yesterday: I'm going to be teaching my own class- Principles of Sociology- at Santa Clara University for their Spring Quarter! I am so thrilled about this opportunity. I have been waiting for this for quite sometime so I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. It has been a rough few months with nothing happening job wise (besides my part time research project which will end in April) so thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement!

San Francisco Ballet- Program 2

This year I got season tickets to the San Francisco Ballet with three friends- Dyan, Maren, and Katie. Our first of 5 performances was last night and it was good- showing that it is going to be a great season. Our friend Shayla filled in for Katie who was out of town. Our seats were great- they were off to the far right side of the theater, at the end of the second and third rows. I thought that these seats were SO much better than the balcony in that they provided a more intimate and emotional connection with the dancers. The only drawback was that we couldn't see parts that occurred on the far side of stage left. But for $20 a ticket, it is very minor. It really was a very different experience to be so close. Instead of focusing on the figures, synchrony, and choreography like I do when I am in the balcony, I was able to focus on the emotions being conveyed by the dancers as well as experiencing their incredible technique. I was so shocked by what little noise their feet made- even when doing major leaps. I was more involved and captivated by the performance sitting so close.

The company did 3 numbers: Opus 19/The Dreamer, Ghosts (the world premire), and Company B. Opus 19 had great music and choreography, Company B (based on the song "Boogey Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B) has such fun music by the Anderson Sisters and it made the guys look kind of silly with some of their movements. But my absolute favorite was "Ghosts." The music was so powerful and stirring and the dance movements were fluid and organic, like a ghost, but also unique/different from what I had seen before. It was SO fun to go with you ladies and I'm looking forward to our other plays!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Two Christmases

Yeah, it is pretty sad that it is February 1st and I am still doing photos from Christmas!! I like to think that it is only because we had such a great time that we wanted to spread out all of the wonderful memories we made.

We were lucky to have TWO Christmases- I actually really liked having two separate days of Christmas. It made the holiday even more magical.

Christmas Eve- the whole day was spent with the Kunz family. We were truly so spoiled by Santa-

And the stockings

Mmmm- just look at all of the yummy treats inside of our stockings.

And check out these super cool candy Legos in William's stocking! It was fun to be able to put together some creations and then snack on them.

Brother Corey got a super sweet gift from his wife- a BYU helmet signed by the current football players!

Charlie was a pro at opening his presents without help

William and I were spoiled with lots of great gifts including video games- Super Mario Wii was my personal favorite addition (btw- it makes for some crazy games when you play with 4 people at a time!), baking supplies, cds, handsoaps, makeup (for me :-) But of course the highlights of the day was the gift exchange between William and Chris as earlier chronicled.

We had an amazing Christmas dinner with turkey and all the fixings and then went out and saw Christmas lights. This was the most impressive house of the ones that we saw.

On Christmas morning, we went and saw Sherlock Holmes and then headed over to my parents house to have our second Christmas. Since my dad has to go into work on Christmas morning, we open up our presents in the afternoon. William loved his Chik-fil-a gift card and we went 3 times during our 2 week stay (did you know that some of the ones do breakfast- it is SUPER good and we are sad that the nearest one to us in Cali is an hour and a half away) and I loved the framing I got on this painting. My mom knows how much I love Van Gogh and so she bought this replica for me several years ago for my birthday and got it framed for me. It really enhances the overall look of the painting.

Here's the happy family- my Dad was so excited by his book that he immediately started reading.

We truly felt so spoiled and loved by both families. But the best gifts we received from them was being able to spend quality time with ALL of our families. We truly have THE BEST families in the world.