Tag Archives: family

La Jolla Shores

I am so lucky because Ben is finally done studying for and taking the bar exam!! And that mean it’s vacation time!! First stop is La Jolla California to spend a week with the newest half of my family, a.k.a. The In-Laws. We stayed in an awesome rental house just one block off the beach in La Jolla Shores. It was called the Spanish Hacienda and it was so beautiful. We all agreed we would love to have the kitchen because it was so spacious and fully stocked with all the utensils, dishes, and appliances, including a Margaritaville margarita machine!! When I have money to splurge and a bigger kitchen, I am definitely getting one of those.

We enjoyed a great breakfast out on our last morning. I have a veggie volcano, which was a HUGE mound of eggs and veggies, zucchini, squash, eggplant, mushrooms, onions – so delicious!


Ben enjoyed a Belgian waffle with strawberries and cream.


I took advantage of the great scenery and much cooler temperatures and went running along the coast.


This is about 2 miles from the house, the Children’s beach, which had tons of swimmer and seals. The seals made it smell terrible, but of course they are cool to look at.

The view looking back toward La Jolla Shores.
We have a new addition to the family, our neice, Baby S!! She is so cute, and I even held her for a few minutes. I have to say she is a very happy baby and was all smiles almost the whole week.
We took family pictures to have an updated one with baby S. Before pictures, the girls made a stop at The Dry Bar to get our hair done. It was pretty fun and I was very impressed with how mine turned out. Ben, my M-I-L and B-I-L at pictures.
After the family pictures, Ben and I got a fun picture with sunglasses, especially since my hair was looking pretty awesome, lol.
Early morning beach scene.

We have taken a vacation to San Diego the last couple of summers but haven’t been able to stay for more than a few days. This year we stayed a full week and took some time to see the sites. Well, mainly the San Diego Zoo. I had already been to the zoo, but not since high school and who doesn’t love seeing lots of cool animals?? Flamingos top my list for cool animals to see, mainly because they are the perfect shade of coral pink.

We did a lot of walking, and byte time we got to the Sky Safari cable cars, we were glad to take a ride back to the front of the zoo.

These mere cats were so cute, they jut ll ran around and it really seemed like they knew we were watching them.

And there was a baby giraffe, Penelope, born in May! Yep, super cute! I love the giraffe because they have such pretty and expressive eyes. Even the boys have beautiful long eyelashes.

When we first got into the park, there was a Ranger demonstration with a cheetah and her companion dog. Apparently the cheetahs and wolves are able to live less stressful lives in captivity if they have a dog that is always with them. I didn’t listen to a whole lot of the presentation but it was very interesting that the two animals end up being friends when the wild animals could easily kill the dogs.

Oh yeah, while Ben studied for the bar, he didn’t do anything other than study. That included shaving, so when we arrived in La Jolla, he had this monster of a beard going on. I am not fond of the beard but was willing to put up with it until he could focus on something other than learning the whole entire legal system of rules and regulations. It really didn’t look bad, I just don’t like all that scratchy hair coming in touch with my face, if you know what I mean. The funniest part of the beard was when he would walk up to me and I wouldn’t hardly recognize him! The family reactions to the beard were also quite funny.
Luckily, Ben cares about me more than growing facial hair and he decided to get a full shave and haircut while we were in La Jolla.

For a minute he had just the mustache, and I really hope it’s the only time I actually have to see that…it just doesn’t suit my taste at all!


Sadly, we had to say goodbye to the beach, but only after a wonderful week of family, sun and surfing!



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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Travel


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Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas everyone!! We are celebrating in Dallas with Ben’s side of the family and it is snowing here! Definitely looks like home to me :)

We had a pretty relaxed morning. I got a short kickbox workout in, thanks to YouTube. Ben woke up and we opened presents around 11. I guess when you get old you are excited about presents whenever you open them AND you value sleep. I had worked from 6pm on December 23rd to 8:30am on December 24th so I was more than happy to sleep in until 8:30 this morning. My mother-in-law made an awesome Christmas tree monkey bread!


I gave Ben new luggage in University of Texas orange and black. He has needed a rolling suitcase for travelling and now he has one. We also got tickets to a Minnesota Timberwolves v. the San Antonio Spurs basketball game – thank you Mom!

I had a wonderful time watching my mother-in-law open her present because it was something I knew how to pick out: Cowgirl boots!!


My stocking was filled with a great workout shirt, Practical Paleo the book, and an awesome Coach clutch. My mom was awesome and sent presents to us in the mail, which included a salt and pepper shaker that I had asked for.


Also, we got the game Monopoly and will probably be having a Monopoly marathon later tonight.


Ben got lots of comfy cloths, including sweat pants, pajamas and a cool new bathrobe. I’m thinking he will never leave the house because he will be so comfortable on the couch.


My sister-in-law sent homemade vanilla extract – SO COOL! I have to find out how she made it, and packaged it because it came in a super cute bottle.


Each year, my extended family gets together and has Christmas. This year the cousins had a gift exchange and my awesome cousin, E, send me new running gear and Burt’s bees hand cream. Absolutely perfect, because after washing my hands about 50 times a day, they are really dry, cracked and NOT pretty.


I am so blessed to have great friends and family. I wish I could be with each and every one of them to celebrate the holidays, but I am learning that whenever you spend time with family, it is a celebration. It doesn’t have to be a specific day or specific activity, but the time spent together is what is most important. That is also true of our relationship with Christ. I find that sometimes more emphasis is put on our religious activity during holidays, when really He wants to spend time with us each day. Any time spent with him is special and meaningful. May you be blessed with great time spend with family, friends and the Lord this Christmas season and each and every day.


Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Holidays, When in Texas...


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Birthday Celebration

My birthday was actually earlier this week, but I am learning that now a days, the actual date doesn’t matter, it’s when you celebrate that counts. Last year Christmas was before and after the 25th because that is when we could celebrate with our families. This year I was determined to plan something and hang out with people because it seems that if you don’t, nothing will just happen on its own.

I decided to celebrate on Saturday, since another friend was having a party on Friday. I also had to work Saturday morning so I didn’t want to be tired from a Friday party. It just happened that the San Antonio Riverwalk Association Lucky Duck Race was on Saturday. The race was held at the Pearl Brewery, which is very close to our house. This is not a running race, but an actual race of rubber ducks down the San Antonio River! I adopted a duck which benefited the local homeless shelter, Haven for Hope.

We missed the start of the race, but luckily the river isn’t flowing very fast and rubber ducks don’t swim too fast. About half of the ducks went over the small falls on the river and got a big head start on the others.

And they’re off!

The others took the slower, scenic path and meandered down the first stretch of the race.

Slow, scenic route

And some ducks took a wrong turn and just got stuck in traffic!

Dead End!

Making their way to the finish line

Ben & I enjoying the race.

Wrong way!

Why are all these funny-looking ducks in my river?

In the end, my duck did not win, place or show (first, second, and third for non-horsey people). I am happy to have participated in this good cause, and really should have bought more ducks. I hope you can join my team next year and adopt some ducks for a good cause! After the race we went home for a little while to watch the beginning of the University of Texas football game. Next stop, Alamo Street Eat Bar for dinner, hanging out and watching football. This is a food truck park in an old drive-in located in Southtown.

This has definitely become one of our favorite places to eat and have a relaxing dinner in San Antonio. We enjoy the variety of food trucks because each of us gets to eat what we want, even if it’s completely different cuisine! If you haven’t checked out food trucks lately, you should! They are becoming very popular and serve gourmet food at a reasonable price. My Minnesota friend was the first to show up, even before me! That is what happens when you have lived in the south for a while…you just learn to show up exactly on time, or usually a little late. I enjoyed some Korean Takos from @takoriya truck. There were several burgers and one veggie burger from @attaboyburgers, some HUGE sushi rolls from a new truck (@ZumSushi) I haven’t tried and some gyros from @wheeliegourmet.

Chatting it up around the table

My friend L asked if she could bake me a cake, to which I replied, “Of course!” She is a great cook and makes the main dish for our Monday small group each week. She was so sweet and even asked what I could eat – chocolate and no dairy please!

Perfect Birthday Cake

Check that out! If you can’t see too well, it’s a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting decorated with Kit-Kat’s on the sides and M&M’s on top. Just what a girl needs to round out a birthday dinner.

I had a wonderful birthday earlier in the week and I had a wonderful birthday celebration with friends Saturday night. I missed my family and friends who couldn’t be there, but I am so blessed to have good friends in San Antonio.

Thank you Lord for one more year of life, please guide me in the next year to do Your will and bring you Glory.


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San Diego in short

I have never needed a vacation more than right now. I’m so glad we already had this beach vacation planned with Ben’s family. So far we have:
*layed on the beach
*attempted to boogie board
*sunburned my butt-yes,please laugh because it’s funny
*run barefoot on the beach
*ran to the horse race track to watch the morning workouts
*walked around town to see the shops
*hung out with family telling stories, joking and catching up on each others lives
*started the list of reasons to move to San Diego

So far, this has been a great vacation!


Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Happy 4th of July


Wow, long time no blog. Sorry to my followers for being a boring blogger lately!

Anyway, happy 4th of July everyone! This is a special holiday to me because it is the time our family (anyone related or friends are invited) gathers at the lake cabin in Minnesota. Since moving to Texas, I have been able to go home every year, except this year. I was already home twice in early summer, for my sister’s birthday and a wedding, so I wasn’t too bummed because we had lots of family time.

As I’m writing this, Ben and I are traveling to MN. We are going home on the 4th of July to be with family and celebrate my Grandma Noni’s life, who passed away last weekend. It’s an unexpected trip for an unexpected and very sad reason, but I’m thankful we’re going home. We are all going to miss her greatly. Unfortunately, we are having a bad travel day and were supposed to be home by now, instead if sitting in the DFW airport. Hopefully we’ll make it to the lake for fireworks.

The picture is of key lime pie cake balls. I had planned on making a key lime pie cake and making a flag on top but the cakes failed and the only way to salvage the idea was cake balls. As far as I’m concerned, cake balls are much more time consuming than a two later cake, so it made for a long night in the kitchen before our work celebration for the 4th of July.

What are you’re 4th of July traditions?

Do you have any fun red, white and blue dishes?


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What happened in December 2011?

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I only wrote work-out log blog posts. I have to say, when I wrote the “Let the Race Begin” blog, I didn’t think that would also include NO blog writing. It truly has been a race to the end of the year, and I am looking forward to a busy, fun-filled week and hopefully a very relaxing New Year’s Eve! So, what have I been doing in the month of December?


Ben’s work Christmas party at the Lone Star Palace! It was a fun night filled with great company, great food and great views.


The next day, I left Ben at home to study for finals and headed up near Austin for my friend’s wedding. It was an overcast day and there was on and off rain, but that didn’t stop them from having a beautiful wedding ceremony and a hopping wedding dance. I loved the venue they chose for their wedding. It was on a little farm/ranch with animals and country decor. Hot Apple Pie was their signature drink, which was great for a cool, rainy day, and the wedding meal was catered by Salt Lick BBQ (best BBQ ribs I’ve ever had!).  

The beautiful bride

I got back into San Antonio in time to do some more dancing to Celebrate my friend LC’s birthday! It was exactly my type of music, almost 100% rap, but we still had a great time. I think I danced for 4+hours that day!

The following Friday, my cousin J & his fiance, Danica, came into San Antonio for a short visit/vacation. We had a lot of fun. Friday night we went out with some of Ben’s law school classmates to Cha-Cho’s for margaritas, King-Kong nachos (one full order fed 8 people and there was some left over!) and celebrating the end of finals and another successful semester.

On Saturday we walked down to the Pearl Brewery to check out the Farmer’s Market. I had read there was Gingerbread house making going on, and we took full advantage of making gingerbread houses! Ben and I sat for an hour building my gingerbread house and his gingerbread church, and just to be clear, we did not help each other, except in sharing frosting and decorating toppings. This was one of the most fun things we have done together. I was totally surprised that Ben enjoyed this because he normally is not a details person. I could have sat there for another hour, but everyone else was ready to go, so I finished up my house and we went home. Next stop was the Alamo and La Paloma Riverwalk for lunch. I had a HUGE bowl of tortilla soup and pretty good flour tortillas. 




Church, Rudy’s BBQ, downtown Boerne and Sister Creek Vineyards are all on the “been there, done that” list for Sunday. We had to make sure our guests got some tradition Texas BBQ while they were here. When you hear “BBQ” up north, sloppy joes are generally what comes to mind. Of course in Texas, BBQ means smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, turkey, sausage and various other meats. We checked out LOTS of little shops on Main St. in Boerne and we also walked around their Christmas vendor fair in the town square. We stopped at a local bakery and I got an amazing brownie, which I was going to share with Ben, but the nut content meant he could not share it with me, oops! Next stop was Sister Creek Vineyards to taste some wines. It was a small winery and Danica and I shared an 8 wine tasting for $6. There was one white wine that she liked and bought and I liked a few of the red wines. I purchased one of them for a Christmas present. 

I worked my tail off Monday through Wednesday so we could head to the airport Wednesday afternoon and fly home to MN! I have to say it was the worst flying day Ben and I have ever experienced but we were so lucky that my sister and cousin came to pick us up from Minneapolis at 1:30 AM on Thursday morning. My mom bought us one hour massages for Thursday afternoon which was a much-needed treat! Friday we set up the Christmas tree and had dinner with my college friend and I got to meet her daughter for the first time.

We hit up Applebee’s half-apps with my friends who are getting married in two weeks!! I was able to attend her bridal shower when I was home as well.

Saturday was a fun-filled day at the family lake cabin. My uncle got ice skates for all the cousins, and almost all of us went skating on the lake, Ben included! I was surprised he went on the lake, but we had tons of fun. I had almost forgotten how much I love ice skating! We had the traditional mexican dinner, beef and chicken enchiladas, beef tacos, mango salsa, black bean salsa and guacamole; followed and preceded by desserts of caramel corn, almond bark popcorn, puppy chow, almond bark pretzels, hot chocolate, coffee and hot apple cider. We ended the day opening presents by the fire and watching Santa Clause 2.

Ben went ice skating on a FROZEN lake!!!


Cousin Picture

Family Picture at Sunset

Winter sunset at the Lake

Sunday was brunch with the cousins and some time “laying out” in the sun because it was an almost unheard of 55 degrees on December 18th!  It was Ben’s first time coming to MN in the winter, but he did not get the typical Minnesota winter experience. This is probably a good thing because he will be more open to coming back next year! When everyone headed home, my family went home to have Christmas together. My parents gave us way too many presents (as usual) but we had fun and enjoyed an early Christmas morning simulation together. 

"laying out" in the December sun

MN Winter isn't so bad after all!

Monday we packed up and headed to Sioux Falls to do a little exchanging and shopping. We enjoyed HuHot Mongolian grill with my aunt. We were up early for a 6AM flight back to San Antonio, and as soon as we arrived both Ben and I headed back to work.  The rest of the week was filled with work, eating out and sleeping. Thursday night I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch at 6:45 and went to bed at 7:45 and didn’t get up until 7 the next morning!

What were some of your best memories from this past December?

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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Daily Gratitude


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Let the race begin!

Looking at my schedule from now until the end of the year makes me feel like I am in a long distance sprint, and yes, I know that is pretty much an oxy-moron, but its one hundred percent accurate as to how the next few weeks are going to be. There are going to be a LOT of sprint days (working harder & faster than usual) due to holidays, and then there is going to be a marathon of travel (ranch for Thanksgiving, Minnesota and a TBD anniversary location). That doesn’t include getting ready for two sets of house guests in between the traveling and of course just the everyday ins and outs of life. Thinking about working out is almost non-existent. I also have to mention that with all this going on for me, Ben had started his marathon of finals studying and is spending every last minute reading something for law school. Now, all that to say that even though I have a lot going on, I am super excited for the last few weeks of the year. I am getting to see almost all of my family and some friends as well.

This weekend began with grocery shopping after work on Friday. I hit up Costco to buy Ben some portable and nutritious snacks for when he is riding his bike to and from work and school. Next was Wal-Mart for almost everything else but their produce doesn’t impress me so I hit up HEB to get some bananas, Honeycrisp apples (my FAVORITE) and a few other things. No real big savings but I did manage to use about 6 coupons, so saving a little is better than nothing. I finished the night by reading blogs and watching Twilight while Ben studied.

I slept in a little on Saturday and then went to the gym for a quick workout before my chiropractor appointment. Normally I go to the chiropractor during the week because it is so close to my work, but my doctor was providing free adjustments with a donation to the food bank so I couldn’t turn that down. I went home to pick up Ben and head to his school for a Pow-Wow. If you are not familiar with Native American traditions, this is a gathering where they dance, sing and celebrate together. Ben is taking American Indian Law and attending the pow-wow was a requirement of the class(pictured below).


After the pow-wow, I left Ben to study and I went home to do some decorating, cleaning and organizing. I got a new shelf for my kitchen and was hoping to fill it up this weekend. I hung several pictures and did put some things on the shelf, but not as much as I would have liked. Ben and I went out for a great dinner at Osaka Japanese Steak & Sushi Bar. We were planning on Le Madeline, but changed course when Ben saw sushi next door. He had a fried California roll, we shared a spicy salmon roll and I had an amazing teryaki steak with white rice (all pictured below). During dinner, I coined a new word, Texified, which refers to anything that has been modified due to its interaction with the state of Texas. I was using it in the context of Mexican food, because just about all the Mexican food we eat here has been modified from how it was originally made in Mexico. Ben thought it was great and decided that I have also been Texified, which is true to a certain extent. I don’t have big hair yet but I am saying y’all more often than not. After dinner, I baked a batch of cupcakes to keep myself awake before going out dancing with some girls from my small group. I used to wait until 10 or later to go out at night, but now that is my bed time! Dancing was a great time and a good workout (I was sweating a TON…good thing I wasn’t trying to impress anyone).


I slept in until 10 AM today! That usually doesn’t happen, but when you go to bed at 2am, its pretty much a given. We heard a wonderful sermon on marriage today and my major take-away was the key to a successful marriage is both people being committed to each other for the long-term. In addition, our pastor talked about how having the perception that finding Mr. or Mrs. Perfect will make a great marriage sets people up for failure. I believe God has one perfect person for us, but it is a perfect fit, not a perfect person (only Jesus was perfect). We all have to decide each day to love the other person and lay our lives down for them to make the relationship work and grow.

Before going to Pilates this afternoon, I baked a batch of Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip muffins. Thank you Danica and Peanut Butter Fingers for giving me a great recipe for the muffins. Chocolate chips were my add-in of choice and I will be bringing some of them to small group tomorrow night and the rest to the ranch to add to the Thanksgiving smorgasborg. I really wanted to make banana bread muffins tonight, but just didn’t have the energy. There is always Tuesday or Wednesday. Well, now I’m just relaxing and resting up for the next few busy days.

Have you started your Thanksgiving preparations? How was your weekend?


Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Cooking, Faith, When in Texas...


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