Monday, November 19, 2012

From High Heels to Hard Hats

SEATTLE, WASH. -- My professional life has taken a drastic turn. Don't ask me what happened to my communications-focused career, but it kind of went out the window, I guess. Though definitely not on purpose. My connections in Seattle are few (despite many networking attempts), so I decided to do what any desperate girl would do: I went to a temp agency (gasp) to keep busy.

My temporary (please be temporary, please be temporary) new assignment came after I first took a series of computer proficiency tests... this ranged from Microsoft Office tests, a typing test, and a test that made me want to SCREAM outloud for hours: it involved 25 story problems and "puzzles." Even still, the thought of this makes me want to hurl. Puzzles such as, "Complete the following pattern: A F 23 7 D 2 89 G 3458 3 R..." WHAT?!  And you know... those really pointless story problems about how if John left point A traveling 40 mph and Jane left point B traveling 30 mph, what time did they cross paths if John took two six minute breaks... blah blah blah?  That kind. The kind I hated when I was a kid, and the kind I still hate. Who cares when they crossed paths? Anyone? Anyone? Needless to say, I knocked all the other tests out of the park. I was pleased, however, to hear the temp agency lady tell me that I was above average on the story problems too. I'm not sure how this is possible. I can only conclude that the other candidates who have taken the test must not be very bright. Mean. I know. But it's all I can conclude. But whatever makes my story problem skills look good...  

Back to my new, temp job: You'll never believe what I'm doing. Goodbye high heels and suits (I may have wept over this) and any attempts at being fashionable, and hello hard hat and orange vest (I also may have wept over this) and all attempts at being unfashionable. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. After reviewing my computer proficiency tests, the temp agency lady informed me my best job "match" would be to do data entry for a construction company building a twin-tower skyrise apartment complex in downtown Seattle. The pay bites big time. But, I agreed. After all, something was better than nothing.

So, I now report to work with a bunch of blue collar union guys who have mouths like they work in a newsroom (the language is nasty, dirty in a newsroom. Sorry, I know you'll never view those FOX news anchors the same again). The down side is the job starts at 7:30 a.m. Yes, A.M! Oh dear. Those of you who know me well know that I am not a morning person or anything that resembles one. The plus side is, I'm off at 3:30 in the afternoon. Also on the plus side is I can wear jeans to work and because I have to sport a dorky hard hat, there's really no point in fixing my hair. This helps with the getting up early thing. This is also a downside. I feel like a schmuck all day. And because these apartments are under construction, the buildings are freezing. I wear my coat all day long.

So, in case you're wondering what I look like sans high heels, here I am...  Do you think orange is my color?  ;)
Yes... laugh. You'll be laughing with me, not at me.

So, there you have it. That's what I've been up to lately. Luckily everyone I work with is super nice to me. I guess with all the perks unions get, how could you not be?  I just keep telling myself, "Temporary, temporary, temporary, temporary...." Fingers crossed.

Anyone else up to anything fun? Please fill me in!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thank You A Million Times

SEATTLE - I've always had this unexplainable fear that if I threw a party, no one would come. So, to avoid that, I simply never threw parties. Problem solved. This fear, however, extends beyond me hosting a party. It goes as far as someone throwing a party for me. If anyone ever offered to throw me a birthday party, I'd vehemently decline. So, growing up, I always though that there'd be no way on the planet I'd ever want a party as elaborate as a wedding reception. What if no one came?! The thought terrified me.

On October 20, 2012, I will be forever grateful that I allowed my mother to talk me into having a wedding reception. Or a wedding anything. So many people came to celebrate, literally from all over the world. I have never felt so loved in all my life. I will never forget the beauty of that day. Not ever.

Oh, I love this man!
Not only was the wedding ceremony one of the sweetest I've heard (yes, I actually listened), I don't think I have ever been more touched in all my life. I remember walking into the sealing room holding Isaac's hand, looking around and seeing so many people that meant so much to me, sitting right there in that lovely room in the Draper Temple. I felt overwhelmed with love. They were all there for us. In fact, the whole day felt like a life reunion, if there ever was such a thing. Close family, extended family, friends from all over the country, old college roommates I hadn't seen in years, and people I hadn't even dreamed would travel great distances came just to support us on our special day. I was touched.
Some of the Bennett crew
In addition to our loved ones making the day so special, the weather played a large role too. It couldn't have been better. Days prior to the wedding, it was cold and rainy. And three days later, it snowed. But on October 20, the sky was sunny and the temperatures topped the mid 70's. The autumn leaves glowed in vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow, and the crisp leaves slowly fluttered to the ground throughout the day, leaving the autumn ambience at our outdoor wedding lunch and reception picture perfect. I felt like I was in a fairy tale all day. Our surroundings seemed to be illustrated by the heavens themselves. Cheesy, I know, but that's really how I felt! 

Gorgeous scenery, eh?
Isaac and I drove away from the reception that evening, feeling like the most loved people on the planet. Our only regret was we didn't get near enough time to talk to any one. We'd enthusiastically greet friends who we longed to catch up with, only to get whisked away 30 seconds later to a new crowd of people, repeated throughout the entire day. My heart was filled with love, but ached simultaneously for not being allowed to give our friends and family the attention we wanted to give them.
Isn't that cake amazing? My talented cousin made it.
So, if you didn't hear me say it enough that day, THANK YOU again to all those who helped us feel like the most loved, lucky, special people on earth. Thank you really seems so inadequate.  Thank you for coming, whether you drove two minutes to be there, or traveled two days to make it happen. We will be forever grateful for your support in starting our lives together.

It seems so cliche to say that my wedding day was the best day of my life, but quite honestly it was the most fun, happy, amazing, touching, wonderful, sweet, BEST day ever. I get the chills just thinking about it. And I feel so lucky to be married to Isaac. He amazes me.

Though I don't think I'll be wanting another party any time soon (I mean, come on, how do you top that?), I would be up for another life reunion any time. Anyone?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Gratitude to Our Nation's Capital

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I don't usually trust car salesmen, but when I bought my new car last year he promised, "you can fit a lot of stuff back there!" He wasn't lying. Little did I know that a year and a half later I'd be attempting to cram my entire life back there. Thanks to two dear friends, on Friday night we made that happen. 

While I can't think of a better reason for my move, it's still been an emotional time for me. I've spent the last four and a half years in our nation's capital. It's definitely had its ups and downs, but the last two years especially have been some of my most cherished. It took a few years for Potomac fever to set in, but when it did, it struck me hard.

This past week I've been reflecting on how all this came about. When I lived in Florida in 2008, I felt a strong pull to put my TV news reporting days behind me and move to Washington, D.C. I'll be honest when I say I wasn't excited about it. D.C. was my twin sister's thing, not mine. Besides, what interest did I have in politics? None. But all my siblings were going to be there, and I felt a yearning to be close to them. I guess I had a feeling that we'd probably never live near each other again. So, I went. And I stayed. Longer than any of them. They've all long since moved far away. God definitely guided me there. And made me stay. I have no doubt.
My siblings (and their spouses on the ends) and I right before my brother moved to Sweden 
Right before Amy moved to Oklahoma (P.S. why were flower headbands ever "in"?)
I'm not really sure how to sum up my years in D.C. If I had to use one word, I'd say miraculous. I somehow miraculously convinced Senator Bennett's staff to hire me in his press shop, at a time when Republican jobs were in short supply. I had zero political experience. Because of him I gained a deeper love and respect for our country, mostly because of his example in serving it. When his term ended, I didn't think it was possible to work for another office I respected as much. In fact, my list of senators I'd even be willing to work for was incredibly short. Truth be told, I didn't even want to stay in D.C. I started searching elsewhere. But God had other plans for me. And I stayed put. And that short list? Good thing I even had a list at all, because I ended up miraculously getting hired as the press secretary for the senator who topped the list, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. And my time spent there, just shy of two years, has been such a wonderful experience.
Senator Bennett and I
Me and Senator Roberts

The office threw me a going away/bridal shower last week. Senator Roberts enthusiastically helped me unwrap my gifts. Oh, he makes me laugh! And on my last day of work on Friday, he serenaded me with some Grand Ole Opry song about making grown men cry. It was a terrible rendition (albeit hilarious), but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have to choke back the tears. He and his staff have been so good to me.
My boss and I at my going away party
Some of my Roberts' buddies
I have loved spending these years working on Capitol Hill. I love seeing the majestic Capitol building every day illuminating the D.C. skyline. It gives me chills every time I walk its historic corridors or catch a glimpse of the dome lit up in the sky at night, and I always catch myself gazing at it for a few moments on my drive home from work at night. There's something about this building and what it stands for that makes me proud to serve our country, even in this small way.
Senate side of the Capitol
View of the Capitol from my drive home from work
The Capitol Visitor's Center plays a video at the beginning of each public tour entitled E Pluribus Unum (translation: out of many, one), it's our Capitol's motto. The first time I watched it, I was awe-inspired. I felt like such a geek. I was in awe that our Founding Father's thought up this genius system that somehow allowed every state and region to have equal representation and balance. And in awe that I was somehow privileged enough to watch it up close, even during election years when nothing seems to happen.

And it's here in our nation's capital where I miraculously fell in love... to a guy that lives on the opposite end of the country. But when it came down to it, I'd rather date him living so far away then any guy who lived next door. I'm so excited to marry him.
Isaac and I on one of our first dates with a friend who doubled with us
A few days after we got engaged. This pic makes me laugh.
Just after Isaac and I got engaged, I brought him to the weekly press conference that the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Republican Leader hold every Tuesday afternoon. He got to stand among the Capitol press corps and listen to what Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell had to say about their interpretation of policy that week. I typically take our interns there, because I know it's neat for them to see this sort of thing up close. As the press conferences wrapped up, and we walked back to the Senate subway, Isaac said to me, "That was so awesome. How can I take you away from all this?!" I don't think I had an eloquent answer, but I told him something like how I had never intended on staying here forever anyway. He's worth it to me to close a really good chapter and start an even better one.
Isaac (plaid shirt) listening to Sen. Reid at a press conference in the Capitol

So, I've pondered a time or two over the last few weeks, why it is that I can possibly be so emotional (other than from lack of sleep, I mean) and sad about leaving when I'm so excited about what lay ahead. And I guess it can only be described this way... D.C. has touched me. So many people and experiences here have touched my life for good. I've made friends here who I adore beyond words. And I've had experiences that have shaped my life in ways that have changed me forever. I've grown passionate about politics and about causes that never before crossed my mind. And I think if I would have left without feeling this kind of magnitude of emotion, I would have failed. So, I'm going to go ahead and count this chapter of my life as a success. The tears and the heartache over leaving have deemed it such. I guess that's how you know your time has been spent worthwhile. 
My Bennett buds, plus Mike, and minus a few others
On Friday morning I dragged a friend along with me to watch the sunrise from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was breathtaking. I'm usually not one for symbolism (or cheesiness), but I couldn't help but feel like it was slightly symbolic. I'm closing a chapter of my life that I will always cherish. But the sun is rising on a new one. And only God's hand could be behind something so miraculous. The fun is just beginning. Now I'm making my way across the country with a very packed car. My final destination is Seattle, where I have a lot of adventures awaiting me with a guy I can't wait to be with forever.
Sunrise from the Lincoln 
So, goodbye Washington, D.C. Thank you for being so good to me!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One Month Away

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sometimes I still think, "I can't believe this is happening!" But it is... in just 30 days. Whoa.

My time is winding down in D.C. And I'm getting pretty sentimental. Just nine more days and my cross-country road trip begins. Final destination: Seattle (with stops in Knoxville, OKC, SLC and Maui. Sounds dreamy, right?).

I'm excited about what lies ahead. Very excited. And I'm looking forward to lots of walks on this beach in Seattle with this guy... 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Where Does the Time Go...

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Exactly two months from today, I get to marry this guy:

Sixty days. Eight weeks. 1,440 hours. I'm pretty darn excited about it! He makes me smile. And laugh. A lot.

To learn more about us and our big day, you can check out this little space...

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's a Miracle: The Engagement Story

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I already knew the weekend of June 9 was going to be a great weekend.  Isaac was coming to D.C. for a visit. But this time, he was going to be here for a whopping FOUR days.  Our visits usually only lasted for 2 or 3 days max, so this put me over the moon. It's rough being working adults... 

Isaac arrived to D.C. Saturday morning on the red eye. That night we had plans to eat at the restaurant where we had our first date. Not for any sentimental reason, in my mind, but simply because I had a Groupon for it. So, that evening we headed that way. I took a few wrong turns en route, and it made Isaac uncomfortable, for reasons I would discover later. He acted so strange and squirmy in the passenger seat, and I'd never seen him act that way before. I thought my driving was making him nervous. He kept saying, "Let's just go somewhere else."  And I would snap back with, "No way, I have a GROUPON!"   

After dinner, Isaac declared he was taking the reigns and making the plans, which is normally my job when he comes to D.C.  He said he thought we should go to Gravelly Point -- one of my favorite parks in D.C., where you can watch the airplanes land at Reagan National Airport. I'd been there with him before several times, including on one of our first dates.  So, we headed that way, and as we turned into the park, we noticed it was incredibly crowded. People were everywhere. This is typical for a nice evening in D.C., but Isaac had never seen it this crowded before and his eyes got really big.

I was first tipped off as to what was happening as we got out of the car. Isaac, who had a nasty cold all week, informed me he was bringing his backpack with us. You know, just in case he needed a kleenex or a water bottle. I told him I could put it in my purse, but that was unacceptable.  So, off we went, with Isaac's backpack in tow.  

We made our way up the path, away from the crowd, to a pretty, isolated bank of grass right along the Potomac River, overlooking all the monuments, with the sun setting perfectly behind us. Isaac had timed it just right. And thousands of fireflies were dancing in the grass all around us. These creatures don't exist on the West Coast, and Isaac described it as looking like a Disney movie. 

So, here we were, enjoying our Disney movie setting. And soon he started saying really nice, sweet things to me. At that point I was completely aware of what was about to happen, though I didn't think it was possible that he had already gotten a ring. But soon, he declared that he had a present for me. He reached into his backpack, and pulled out a pretty little box. I believe I yelped, "How did you get that already?!"  And he opened the box, revealing the prettiest rose gold diamond ring I had ever seen. I immediately shouted, "YES!" And pulled him off the ground. 

And that's how it happened. 

At Gravelly Point, soon after Isaac proposed

So, while some may say it's a miracle both Isaac and I are finally getting married, I'd have to say that I never doubted it would happen whenever it was supposed to happen, though frustrating moments certainly took their course. It's more a miracle that the stars aligned for us this way. As I stated here, it's a miracle in the sense that two people end up liking each other at the exact same time. And it's a miracle that two people can actually make it work. And it's certainly a miracle that we crossed paths again, living on opposite ends of the country, after we had known each other for so long.  

Isaac is such an incredible, loving, worthy, honorable, hard working, sweet, respectable guy. There may have been a time or two that I didn't think it was possible such a single man still existed. But it's as if I had been praying (and maybe I was) for God to send me the best single guy he could find me. And He did. He's a good one. ;) I'm so excited to marry him. 
The day after we got engaged and shared the news
We'll be tying the knot on October 20 in Draper, Utah. We'd love to see you there.
A rainy day in D.C. a few days after we got engaged

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's a Miracle

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- They say you meet someone when you least expect it. I always thought that was the dumbest line. But I must admit, that's exactly how it happened. The truth though is that I've known Isaac for about a decade. Sometimes funny things happen that you'd never predict. Ever. Here's the full story... and I do mean full story:

I met Isaac back at BYU. I dated his best friend, Nic. I don't actually remember at what point I met Isaac, but it was likely circa 2002. Isaac doesn't remember much about it either, but he does remember interacting with my twin sister, Brittany, more than he remembers me. Ironically, Brittany dated his other best friend. (Don't worry... both BFF's will be at our wedding. It'll be a fun little reunion.)

Over the years, Isaac would randomly send me messages on Facebook-- first, to say hello and to ask when he would see me using my reporting skills on the Today Show. I had just moved from Washington state to report at a news station in Florida, and he had just moved to Washington state for his first year of residency after med school. His most recent message came last summer to tell me he'd be in D.C. that fall from Seattle for an entire month for a radiology conference, and could I please show him around and introduce him to my cool friends? I told him I'd be happy to show him around, and thought nothing more of it until he arrived to our nation's capital a few months later.

A few weeks prior to his arrival, I had just returned from visiting my brother in Sweden, where I must admit I had hung out with some pretty good looking Swedish men. It was then that I had an epiphany that my dating woes might be solved if I simply branched beyond my comfortable two-mile radius dating zone. Afterall, the men in Sweden were incredibly handsome and tall, which was one of my top dating requirements. So I figured I just needed to find a European to date. I was so excited about the idea of branching out, that I recruited an old roommate to look into European YSA conferences with me.  We were pumped to make this happen.

Instead, this happened: Isaac messaged me telling me he was in town. I remember thinking, "Oh yeah, I forgot he was coming..." I invited him to a church activity the next night for half-price burgers. I had been assigned to go to these activities every Monday night, otherwise this never would have happened.
At half-price burger night
It was fun to see Isaac and catch up that night. At the end of the evening, I dropped him off at the metro and promised I'd keep him posted on all things social. The next night, he called and asked me out. I assumed he just wanted some entertainment, and I was the only person he knew in town, so I gladly obliged. We ended up going to a restaurant in Georgetown called Taj of India later that week, followed by a driving tour of the monuments all lit up at night. It was fun getting to know him one on one. I found it kind of refreshing. I had known him all these years, but didn't really know him.

The next week, he asked me out again. This time, his brother was in town, and they wanted to go on a double date. So, I recruited a fun friend, and we explored the monuments. Again, I figured the out-of-towners just needed something to do. Later that weekend I ran into him and his brother at a lunch gathering in between Sunday General Conference sessions, so I invited them over to my house to watch the afternoon session.
On our double date at the Lincoln
It was during that session that my blinders came off. Call me naive, call me what you will, but it just never crossed my mind that he was ever interested in me. I certainly didn't think of him that way. I had dated his best friend, so the idea just struck me as plain weird. It finally hit me that he was interested when he tried putting the moves on me while we were watching General Conference. Back scratches, attempted hand holding... Quite frankly, I couldn't believe he had the nerve to be so bold with other people around, and right in the middle of conference nonetheless. I remember flashing my roommate a glance, like... Can you believe this guy?

But, despite my disgust at his PDA, the dates continued. This time I was well aware that he wasn't just looking for a buddy. But my mind wouldn't switch over so easily. I simply had never thought about dating him before, and it seemed so strange to even consider it. And furthermore, he did not meet my height requirements of at least 6 feet (for the record, he is still much taller than me). So there was really no point in even thinking about it. But, I figured he'd only be around temporarily, so I might as well keep going and having fun. Every time we went out, I had my mind made up that by the end of the night I needed to tell him that we could not date. I was not interested. But by the end of every date, I always had so much fun that I couldn't bring it up... Until one night when I dropped him off at the metro and told him something like... "This is kinda weirding me out... and by the way, I'm super busy all weekend." This piece of news was delivered heading into his last weekend in D.C., before he'd be heading back to Seattle for good. But as Friday night rolled around, I felt pretty guilty for how things ended. So, a friend convinced me to send him a text that night to see what he was up to. He bit and we ended up going to the Iwo Jima Memorial. I later found out, that had I not sent him a text, he had no intentions of ever contacting me again. And it was on this night that I finally came to grips that it was okay if he put his arm around me. And it was okay if he liked me. And it was okay if anything were to happen before he left. Even if I still thought it was weird. And it was okay, even if there was no point, because he was leaving. Because he lived really far away. Like as far away as Europe.

That night, he kissed me. And it was kind of nice. And I realized even though the thought of dating him was still a little weird to me, he was a really good guy. Like the best I'd gone out with in a long time. And even though he may not meet my height requirements, he was still better than all the tall guys I'd gone out with. But even still, I wasn't entirely sold on the idea of dating him. Nonetheless, I promised, even though the rest of my weekend was really busy, that I'd take him to the airport on Sunday morning.

Little did I know that he asked me to pick him up several hours early, just so he could spend time with me before he left. And I'm glad he did. Because it was right there in the cell-phone waiting area at the airport that something miraculous instantly hit me -- I'm talking hit me hard. It was like this light switch suddenly got flipped on in that stupid, stubborn, uptight head of mine. I will never forget that moment. Because suddenly, just like that, it was like I was looking at him with different eyes, a different mind-set, and I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion that he was leaving. I was so bummed that he had to get out of my car and fly to Seattle. He promised to keep in touch. And off he went. That night, on the other side of the country, we decided to Skype. And it was during our first Skype conversation that I was once again struck hard by something miraculous. I looked at him through my computer screen, and this nerdy, techy girl knew something was different about this guy. I felt it. I'd never experienced anything quite like it before. So, I guess God has His ways of letting us know when something good is staring right in front of our faces. Even through a computer screen.

In D.C. at a friend's fancy party
This leads me to a conversation Isaac and I had early in our relationship. We talked about the miracles of dating. How every relationship is such a miracle. It is such a miracle that two people end up liking each other at the exact same time. That a girl keeps saying yes when a guy asks her out. It is a miracle that two different people can somehow make it work. It is a miracle that two people can fall in love. And it is certainly a miracle when two people make it work and get married. So much goes into a relationship and so much must align, that I strongly believe, in the uncheesiest sense possible, that it is nothing short of a miracle when it works out in the end.

So, for the last 9 months, Isaac and I have been flying from coast to coast. Every two or three weeks, he'll come here or I'll go there. Somehow, we've miraculously made it work on opposite ends of the country. I'm not sure why it had to be that I finally found a man this way. But, for whatever reason, I had to look beyond my usual means...outside my little two-mile radius... that happens to be filled with some pretty good guys, by the way. But when it comes down to it, I'd rather fly across the country to be with Isaac than to make it work with any guy next door. And I guess that's the miracle of it all. 

So, in the end, I didn't get my European man. But, when you do the math... flying to Seattle comes pretty close. And I never even saw it coming.

Stay tuned for the story of the proposal, coming up in Part 2 of "It's a Miracle." Because let's face it... this post was getting pretty long.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Good Stuff

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sometimes the East Coast is a lonely world.  But thankfully, from time to time I get the chance to see the ones I love the most out here. Britt and Brian and their cute little kids spent a few days in Williamsburg this week... just a few hour drive from Washington. They popped up to D.C. a few days ago, and we headed over to a popular joint for some incredibly good eats.

As I watched them pull away, I had this overwhelming feeling for how much I love seeing them. It was so nice to hang out with them, even if it was just for a little bit... because this kid cracks me up more than anything... My fingers are crossed that we can live closer someday. 
Drinking the famous Toasted Marshmallow Shakes

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just Because...

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - April has been a busy month so far.  First a trip to Tennessee to get a peak at my new niece, and to hang out with her rambunctious (but darling) big brother.  I have no words for how much I love these kids... 

And then back to D.C. just in time for a weekend visit from my favorite west coaster... 

If only weekends (and vacations) could be longer, I'd be in heaven...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring has Sprung

WASHINGTON, D.C. - I've been a big-time slacker at blogging lately, but I make no apologies.  This winter never really made its full debut, so I've been soaking up the ideal weather conditions and enjoying the outdoors. Needless to say, Spring started early around here.

Last week, while I was on my way home from work, I snapped this photo.  The cherry blossoms were  at their peak when they normally would just be starting to bloom. I could stare at them all day if I didn't have to be responsible.  It's images like this that make it my favorite time of year on the East Coast.

This morning I did the unthinkable in my book, and got up early. A friend and I decided to beat the crowds, so we could take pictures of the majestically blooming Japanese Cherry trees bordering the Tidal Basin. However, when we got there we discovered that the peak blooms had already made their exit.  This weekend's chilly, strong winds had blown most of the blossoms off, and the bright pink and white flowers looked more like autumn colored leaves.  It was kind of a bummer.  But, since it is a rare occasion to find me up early, we made the best of it and had fun taking pictures anyway... 

If only cherry trees bloomed year-round, I'd be getting up early a lot more often.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Resolutions

CORONADO, CALIF. - I'm not normally one to publicly declare new year resolutions on a blog, or anywhere on the internet for that matter. But this time, maybe if I say it out loud, it'll stick: So, let it be known that in 2012, I will spend more time at the beach.* 

On the fourth and final leg of my Christmas vacation, most of the family met up in San Diego to ring in 2012. It was heavenly and a good reminder that rest and relaxation is a must for a stress-free, happy life. So, I think it's safe to say that I can follow through with this resolution. No problem. 

Bon fire on the beach with old Christmas trees
In my rushed attempt to pack for December-like weather, I forgot to pack "beach attire"
Most of the family enjoying the beginning of the new year

*(And if I must get specific, West Coast beaches in particular.I've been called a beach snob, but they are just so much better than the other side of the country in which I currently reside. And there's no humidity. Please don't be upset by this, East Coast friends).