Monday, March 31, 2014


So we finally did it. 

All the financial struggles, the saving, the searching, the excitement, the disappointment...
It all finally came to a fantastic conclusion. 

We found our house. 

And we spent 10 million years signing paperwork. 

Tips on closing day when buying your first house

Tips on closing day when buying your first house

My realtor, Mary, said in all the years she's been doing this as her job, she's never ever had clients bring champagne to a closing. This truly boggles my mind. I mean, who doesn't bring champagne to a closing? It's our first house! This is a big deal! This is cause for celebration and not at all a true sign that we're total alcoholics and any accuse to day drink would be fine with us!

I will give a few words of advice now that we've gone through it and lived to tell the tale:

1: Try to not let the stress get too bad, chill out, and really enjoy this day. Bring champagne, relax, laugh and high five each other when you finish the last signature. 

2: Take a million pictures.

Tips on closing day when buying your first house

3: Make sure to ask your realtor to bring a "sold" sign when you do your final walkthrough the day of closing. There are 3 days that will go down in my personal history as monumental game changers and they are the day I married Jason, the day my daughter was born, and the day I bought my first house. This is a picture we will always cherish and I'm so thankful we got a snap shot of it. 

Tips on closing day when buying your first house

And seriously, if I was a neighbor peeping through my mini-blinds to check out what was moving in next door to me, this would be exactly the kind of thing I would want to see. Anyone who moves in a life sized R2D2 on a jogging stroller must be the best new neighbors ever. (In my opinion)

Tips on closing day when buying your first house

So although our walls are still the creepy grey color of a dead body, we're eating off an Igloo cooler for a dining room table, I can't find the box of coffee cups so I'm drinking out of wine glasses, and the furniture hasn't been delivered so we're sitting on patio chairs... 
We're in!

Tips on closing day when buying your first house

This is my view for the next few weeks, but at least it's a view of progress and we couldn't be happier about it. 

Tips on closing day when buying your first house

Thank you for all the well wishes and I'll keep you updated on all the progression!

Homeownership! Whaaaahooooo!
(high five)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Magnet Mission

The 22 Spanish mission churches of California are very near and dear to my heart. Not because I'm religious or into period architecture or fountain designs or anything like that. Mostly because many years ago, I got drunk and put it on my bucket list to collect a magnet from every one of them. 

Now it's become a personal challenge. 

 you know, 
I think they're pretty buildings.

So the previous visit to California we stayed mainly down in Orange County, however this time was predominantly up in LA. It was pretty much a straight shot from my mom's house to the San Fernando Rey De Espana Mission and from there it was only another hour up to the Mission Buenaventura. 

The San Fernando Rey De Espana mission is by far the coolest in pop culture history for a couple of reasons.  For one, it's the burial place of Bob Hope and his family which I had no idea when randomly stumbling on his tomb in the back gardens. (It's also the burial place of Ritchie Valens and Fred from I Love Lucy!)

For two, this mission is where they filmed the scenes from the Alamo in Pee Wee's Big Adventure! Now, we all know how I feel about the Pee Wee movies so this made the two hours in the car the best two hours of the trip. I've officially seen the same Alamo as the same person who rode in a car with Large Marge. My life is pretty much validated at this point. 

Next stop was a quick 45 minute to drive up the 101 to Ventura. Upon pulling into the parking spot, you can see immediately how much smaller and non secluded this second mission was. We put 20 minutes in the parking meter and didn't even use 5 of them. There were homeless people everywhere and the lady working the counter had a unnecessary attitude that made me want to kick her ass. Plus their magnet selection sucked. 

After a pit stop for milk shakes and burgers at my beloved In-N-Out, we headed back down to Long Beach and it was really just a perfect palm tree day hanging out with my mom and my baby girl. 

So I'm on magnet 9 out of 22, not too shabby! Looks like a trip to Northern California is in order to finish up the collection! Anyone want to put me up for a week?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Abalone Cove Tide Pools

Stepping out of the airport and into Los Angeles is like Dorothy opening the door of her tornado tossed house to the colorful world of Oz.
It's a completely different planet.
I hopped into my old pickup, flipped on the radio and the very first thing I hear is a commercial about "treating yourself" to body improvement.

Buy a new boob get the second one for free!
Use the plastic from your Starbucks cup as an implant for your ass!
No lips? No problem! We'll tattoo them on for 20 low monthly payments of $99.99!

It's so different from au natuale hippyville Fort Collins where people are more interested in getting stoned than making themselves look like they're perma-smiled and on Ecstasy.

It had been a minute since my last visit so it took me a bit to readjust to the same things that I never even used to notice.
Like, for example, every single corner has a kid with a surf board in their arms. I forget how prevalent the surfing community is in all the little towns, and although I'm not a surfer, it was refreshing to be reminded for some reason.

Anyway, since I wasn't quite feeling 100% yet, we decided to drive up through San Pedro and go wander around the Abalone Cove tide pools. It's the perfect thing to do if you're on vacation and you feel like shit but you still want to be out in the sunshine and keep your 4 year old busy and entertained.

you know,
if you're ever in that same predicament...

We had an absolute perfect and crisp view of Catalina Island. 

There happened to be a surf contest going on that day, with swells higher than they had been in over 30 years, so there were a ton of people in the water and a ton of people up on the shore cheering them on.

It takes some energy to get up over the rocks, but once you've made it you'll find the hike was completely worth it. Even if you felt like you might lose your lunch and the world is spinning and you have a fever. Still worth the hike.

Our timing probably could have been a bit better had we gotten out of bed early enough to catch low tide, but there were still tons of star fish, crabs, sand dollars and sea anemones for our viewing pleasure. 

We had perfect weather, clear water, and a live sporting event to check out so other than my constant nausea, I really had no complaints. 

All in all, aside from teetering on the edge of fatality from this awful flu, I'd say day two was a success. I had to postpone my trip down to Orange County for fear of passing along my near death experience to my BFF, but we reunited later in the week and all was well in the world. 

The following day we headed over to a couple of missions that I hadn't seen before but more on that later in the week. 
I hope everyone had a happy and safe Saint Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

It's Always Sunny In California

So vacationing isn't as relaxing as I had originally hoped.

Kalynn came home sick from school last week with the flu. I thought my mommy super powers would have kicked in at this point but apparently even the super-est of matriarchs aren't excluded from the super-est of barf attacks.

We were driving to Denver International Airport when it started to really hit me.

I was doing ok even after checking our baggage, but the tram ride (anyone who knows the Denver airport knows what I'm talking about here) from drop off to Terminal C made me terminally sea-sick.
I spent 45 minutes kneeling on the airport bathroom floor tossing my cookies while my precious kiddo sat and played the iPad with the patience of a saint.

"I still love you, Mommy. I'll take care of you."

I was so afraid I was going to miss our boarding call but equally afraid to leave the toilet so my thinking was going to need to be quick, proficient, and sly.

And then it dawned on me that when I was pregnant with Kalynn flying to New York, they let me pre-board because pregnancy is considered a temporary disability. So I whipped up some tears (which wasn't hard to do) and explained that my "morning sickness" was really kicking in and that I needed to be boarded as quickly as possible to insure my closeness to the bathrooms.

I know that lying about a pregnancy to get myself into or out of a situation isn't the morally correct thing to do here. I'm also aware that by doing something like this I'm exploiting all the generosity that people have for pregnancy all over the globe.


I've never felt so shitty or thrown up so many times in my entire life.
(and I'm even including the hangover of 2011 so you can trust me when I say it was bad)

So they sat me and my daughter in the front row, gave me 4 barf bags, 2 trash bags, ginger ale, and vanilla wafers.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

I made it through the flight, but not out of baggage claim before my sickness reared it's ugly little head and reminded me that I needed to get back to my mom's house as quickly as possible.

So far, it's been a day and a half and I'm starting to finally feel a little better. We've hit up In-N-Out Burger and Sunset Beach but that's about it. I've been posted up in bed the remainder of the time and plan on doing exactly that for the rest of today.

We have the next 2 days with Disneyland written all over it so this ass kicker better move along as quickly as it has arrived...

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

National Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday is a day observed by millions of Christians around the world. It's the Tuesday right before Ash Wednesday when people indulge in richer, fattier foods and celebrate in over the top ways to get ready for their 40 days of Lent.  Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival whatever you want to call it, it all boils down to the philosophy of "Live it up before you let it go." In Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand the day is also known as "Pancake Day" and it is as common a custom to eat pancakes just as it is in America to eat Turkey on Thanksgiving. 

It's just what you do. 

So in the spirit of tradition (because I'm not personally a religious person), I whipped up my own original recipe for the very best pancakes on the planet. They turned out so ridiculously delicious, I figured I'd share. After all, I haven't posted a recipe on this blog since the day after Halloween. 

It's about that time. 

The Ultimate Cinnamon and Buttermilk Pancakes (in the spirit of National Pancake Day)

1 cup flour
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk to combine.  
In large glass measure, add 1 1/2 cups low fat buttermilk, egg, oil, and vanilla.  Whisk to combine.  
Add the wet ingredients into the center of the dry and whisk to combine.  If the batter seems to thick, add more buttermilk until it is pouring consistency.  Set aside.
Heat griddle/skillet which has been lightly oiled with either the canola/butter mixture or sprayed with cooking spray to med-high.  
When griddle/skillet is hot enough, stir the batter and pour by 1/4 cup to form pancakes.  Cook until the edges begin to look dry and small bubbles form on the batter surface.  Flip and cook on the other side for a minute or so, until pancake is done. 
Remove to platter in warm oven, and repeat with remainder of batter.  

And off the subject of pancakes, we've got an under the weather kiddo yet again. She's sick, but still smiling which warms my heart more than pancakes ever could. So send some quick recovering love our way if you think about it and Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Full Steam Ahead

Every morning I make myself a latte in my espresso machine.
I put the water in and I wait for the pressure to build so it can steam my milk. Right before that release happens, everything gets so loud and there is nowhere for that pressure to go except out.
And then everything just stops.
Things are just so still.

So for me, where I am in my life right now, it's like the steam just came out.

Everything has just stopped and it's so so quiet around here.

This last few weeks has been complete mayhem with the shut down of my work, the stress of buying our first house, vacation planning, and all three of us being sick.
Then yesterday, I got a phone call from our lender saying that she finally has everything that she needs for our loan. There is no more paperwork to send or forms to sign until we close on the 25th. It was also my final shift at work. The beer companies came and picked up all their left overs, the regulars came and had their final cocktails, and I finished my final close-out paperwork. California is only 5 days away but the major plans have already been planned, outfits have already been packed, airplane busy bag ideas have already been taken care of...

So that's it for now,

I guess?

I woke up this morning and I don't have anything pressing to get done. It's snowing outside so Jason is off work, it's Saturday so Kalynn is home from school, and none of us have anything to do.

It is the most bizarre feeling I think I've ever had in my life. 

I suppose I'll start packing up the house, maybe work on some new recipes, drink a lot of wine and just hang out for a while.
Sounds terrible, right?

Most people would kill to have a month break but for whatever reason I feel completely lost and in a full on panic.

To sum up:
expect a few of these random posts from me this month.

Because I don't have anything better to do.

"Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together." Elizabeth Taylor