Scottsdale Snow!

Today we experienced what seemed like an oxymoron: Scottsdale snow! Max brought out his SLR and caught these photos in our backyard:



I was amazed the entire time, as was clearly documented by my husband:




Nevermind that I had just come back from pedis with my friend Jamie and was still wearing sandals - I was going to play in the snow. Or, I suppose what I really did was dance/jump around while it fell:


What a fabulous way to end 2010!!
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What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving my sweet and supportive parents! The older I get the more I appreciate all they've done for me : ) It was wonderful spending another Christmas morning with them:


I'm loving our house! We have a long list of projects and lots of hopes and dreams for it, but it was so nice flying into Phoenix last night after nine days of traveling and having a home (our home!) waiting for us.


I'm loving the book Julie and Julia. We watched the film over Thanksgiving with Max's mom and sister (a perfect film for a cooking day!) and I liked it so much I picked up the book! It's nice, light, funny reading and has been perfect for all of our traveling!


Finally, I'm loving my amazing husband who takes such incredible care of me! With all of the work that's already on his plate, he still finds the time to help me with mine! Not only did he organize my grade book in Excel (Excel in the bane of my existence) but he also helped me enter all of my report card grades and came into my classroom the last day before break to help with all the craziness (if you're a teacher or have ever been inside a classroom on the last day before a break, you'll understand the "craziness" comment ; ) Thanks, my hubby!


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California Christmas!

While Max was flying east to England last weekend, I took advantage of my school's holiday break and was flying west to California for a week of visiting family and friends! By Christmas Eve I had made it back to my mom and dad's house in time for all of our family traditions : ) The sisters exchange our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve night, and we just love our yearly pajama photo Christmas morning:


Christmas morning I was super excited to open this coffee maker! I can't wait to use it:


And I put these new Uggs on right away:


I was totally surprised to open this ice cream maker, especially since I've been secretly wanting one since I watched Giada De Laurentiis make this yummy Pomegranate and Mint Sorbet on the Food Network.


But the best Christmas present of all was that my husband (against all odds) made it back from England before Christmas! Many remained stranded over there due to their crazy weather, so we were very lucky to have him arrive in California safely and in time for the Christmas festivities!


He did have to suffer a nine hour delay at Heathrow (this involved trying to board the plane three different times) but at least he now has the British Airways elite status (8 roundtrip flights in 8 months will do that for you) and can go eat ice cream and drink cocktails in their special lounge while he's waiting : ) Now it's more flying for these lovebirds as we travel back to Arizona to ring in the new year. 2011 here we come!
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Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Well, not in Phoenix of course. Max and I had the air conditioner on in the car as we drove around Christmas shopping yesterday. The weather in the UK, however, is a different story. We woke up yesterday to the news that Heathrow (the area's busiest airport) was closed due to weather:


This wouldn't make any difference to us out in Arizona, except that Max was supposed to be flying in there last night for a business trip. After 56 calls to British Airways (the iPhone counted, not us) Max finally got through only to wait for over 2 hours to actually talk to someone who verified that yes, his flight had been cancelled, and no, they couldn't get him on another flight that left anytime soon. After many more phone calls and many more hours, my super sleuth of a husband finagled a last-minute ticket on Continental that would bring him in to Birmingham, England, instead of London. This flight, however, is not direct. He would have a layover at Newark. This seemed especially appropriate as we had just seen Newark mentioned on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update. They were reporting on a recent list of U.S. airports and claimed that "Newark has been named the worst - not the worst airport, just the worst." (This is probably funnier coming out of the mouth of SNL's Seth Meyer.) This morning as we watched the news before Max's 7:45AM flight, the big story was "Thousands Stranded In England" - it was a bit bizarre to be sending my hubby off to a country that has stranded a bunch of people! I'm thinking happy thoughts that the sun will soon shine over England again : )


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Oh, dear...

I cringed when I saw this for sale at our local Safeway store:



A penguin is not a North Pole Pal! Penguins are found only below the equator. Calling the penguin a South Pole Pal would not work either, as the only thing you'll find at the South Pole are a bunch of scientists and the South Pole Station that is buried under more and more snow each year. Perhaps I should write a letter urging the chocolate to be renamed as a Southern Hemisphere Friend ; )
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What I'm Loving Wednesday!


I'm loving that The Nutcracker was in the first grade adopted curriculum this week and that we not only read several versions, but we also listened to the lovely music while completing Nutcracker related activities!

I'm loving that I just-so-happened upon the newest Fancy Nancy book while shopping at Target! I of course picked it up right away.


I'm loving that my hubby brought home Thai take-out tonight. Wednesdays are my late night with tutoring so it was so nice to come home to food!
Finally, I'm loving that there are only two more days of school until Christmas Break! Yipee!
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Traditionally



I would love to be able to start sentences like this: Traditionally, Max and I do ____ and _____ every year... but being a young couple, we simply haven't been together long enough to have traditions. Instead, we get the exciting opportunity to create those traditions : ) Last year we celebrated our first Christmastime as husband and wife by going downtown to see Ballet Arizona's production of the Nutcracker. We again went this year so we have a baby tradition, or, a tradition in the making, if you will. I love the ballet, the costumes and the ballerinas en pointe, however I must say that I also have so much fun watching the fashion show that is the audience. It's so neat to see couples all decked out, and the little ones in taffeta and ribbons. There was even a little newborn in a Santa outfit. As per our baby tradition (or, just like last year), we took a photo in front of the Symphony Hall tree:


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What I'm Loving Wednesday!



I'm loving my extra special blend of Christmas M&Ms! The mix consists of 1/2 pretzel M&Ms and 1/2 mint M&Ms. It's just the right ratio of chocolate, crunch and mint. Max confessed that he thought it would be gross but he's a fan, too!


I'm loving the cactus Christmas lights I see on my way home at night:


I'm loving the latest season of Top Chef: Top Chef All Stars! Along with Stargate Universe, Top Chef is the other show that both Max and I love and watch together every week. I want to be judge Gail Simmons from Food and Wine Magazine : ) This season is especially great because it's bringing back contestants from previous seasons. I have so many favorites that it's hard to choose the chefs I want to root for!


I'm loving Kate Middleton in the news - who doesn't love reading about a soon-to-be princess?


Finally, I'm LOVING driving the Pepper this week! : D
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The Great Freeze of 2010

My hubby made it to England just in time to experience the UK's Great Freeze:



Although it's a pretty picture above, Max reminded me of the downside to that snow by sending me the chilly weather stats as seen from his rental car:


It was hard to be empathetic as this is what I'm seeing here in Scottsdale:



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Introducing... Pepper!

My husband takes really good care of his things. Because if this, he still has the car he was given when he turned 16:

Max is now 28, which makes his car 12. It's been very good to him, following him over the years as he has resided in four different states and on two different coasts. You can probably tell by the above photo that he loves it a lot. Despite this, we recently decided it was time for an upgrade.

P.F. Changs agreed:

We debated getting something small and sporty for Max to drive, but realized that would leave us with two small cars. We had been using the 4Runner to haul drywall, computer racks, desks, ladders, christmas trees (the list goes on), so really, it made most sense to look for another SUV. If you know my husband, you know he loves a deal, so we looked at everything from hail damaged (and repaired) to pre-owned, and from Car Max to the dealerships just down the road, all in search of the best prices possible. We came very close to purchasing a 2008 X5 like this one:
However, it was sold to someone else while we were test driving it. Oh, the disappointment. It turned out to be for the best as Max soon after found his true love: the Cayenne S! Meet Pepper:


Get it? Like a Cayenne Pepper? It's so the car for my engineer - everything on it has been seriously thought out. The windshield wipers sense water and adjust accordingly, and the car itself links to our home automation system so by pressing these buttons inside the car, we can open the garage door and turn on the lights in the house:


It also fulfills the "sporty" requirement having almost 400 horse power (being a girl I don't really keep track of things like horse power, but I know that's a lot). I personally really like the heated seats - they're like hot chocolate for your whole body! As sad as I am about Max's upcoming European business trip, I am excited to drive the Pepper while he's gone : )

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Christmas Tree Time - The Scottsdale Way


Although we had semi-cold weather when we chose our tree at the local lot last year, this year it was a balmy 78 degrees when we headed out in search of the perfect tree. It was quite odd to be wearing short sleeves, but it was very Arizona. Max was a sweetheart again and let me choose the tree. We went with a smaller one this year since it will be going in the den (we thought about putting it in the great room, but as it would be the only item in the entire room, we decided to instead put it in the den where we would see it more).


Max commented that it was much easier to Hercules the smaller tree through the door by himself this year:

While we were tree hunting, we by chance saw a family with a dog that we both instantly decided was the breed for us:



A Wheaten Terrier! We have been debating getting a dog for a while, but always fall back upon the fact that it would make traveling so much more difficult. We could also never fully agree on a breed, until we discovered the Wheaten Terrier! It's big enough to hold its own in our backyard (we have been warned that small dogs can get snatched up by birds) and couldn't get more lovable! With our busy jobs it's probably more of a next summer idea, but we're loving researching all about them!
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Space, the Final Frontier


This was our second year attending Max's holiday work party as husband and wife : ) The novelty of being a married couple hasn't worn off yet - I still just love being introduced as Max's wife! Last year the party was held at the Phoenix Science Museum, and this year the party was at the Challenger Space Center in Peoria (a city just West of Phoenix, but since everything in this metropolitan area just runs together you can't really tell when you're leaving one city and arriving in the next). Every year there is some sort of competition. This year being at the Space Center, the challenge was to create a heat barrier that would be tested by a torch (a spin off of the heat shields that are needed on the shuttles):


They had the Space Center employees test the entrees in front of everyone which was neat to watch (especially the ones that caught on fire right away!). We didn't enter a heat shield as work has been crazy for both of us (me still acclimating to the new position and Max having lots of deadlines as of late, one causing him to stay at work for a straight 38 hours this past week!). Max had wanted to create something out of fiberglass and wouldn't you know - a fiberglass design made it to the winners circle! There's always next year : )
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