Two Years of Wedded Bliss

"Do you remember the 29th of September?
Love was changing the mind of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember - how the stars stole the night away, yeah yeah yeah.

Hey hey hey,
Ba de ya - say do you remember
Ba de ya - dancing in September
Ba de ya - never was a cloudy day..."
-Earth, Wind & Fire

Today is our second wedding anniversary. In many ways, it seems like longer because we've gone through SO much in the past two years! I can hardly believe it. Starting a business, starting school, closing the business, moving cross country, starting new lives in a new city, starting new career paths, travels for work, mom moving out here, ailing parents, healed parents, let's make a baby, we're pregnant, baby is on the way...oh my!

Ah, to be relaxing under a palm tree on the Pacific Shores of Hawaii. What I wouldn't give! To celebrate, I'm working a short day, J has the day off and we're heading to a nice, romantic dinner. Our wedding day was one that I will never forget - the pure emotion and overwhelming feeling of standing together, pledging our love and respect for each other and committing to walking through all of life's joys and sorrows as partners in front of our closet family and friends. It was incredible.

This video montage of our ceremony was shot and edited by my younger brother.

It was a gorgeous September day in paradise. We love Kauai and I cannot wait until we can get out there again...this time with our new daughter. Some of my best memories have been made there...first as a child and teenager vacationing there with my family and later, vacationing there with J and falling in love with him on the beaches of the North Shore, relaxing for weeks at a time with him and eventually, becoming husband and wife there.

Our wedding day was just a celebration of the commitment we had already made to be lifelong partners and each other's best friends no matter what may come or happen. We've been together for eight years and married for two. There's no other person in this world with whom I would rather walk this journey.

21 Weeks and 1 Day Pregnant

I had an appointment today, so we got to see Libby again! And hear her heartbeat, which was a healthy 143 bpm. I also got my flu shot, so I should be set for flu season this autumn and winter.

Me with our photo of Elizabeth Joan...we cannot wait to meet her!

Since I've taken the day off from work (to recover from my marathon in the UK last week!) we decided to go and look at two daycare centers near our home. We're happy with our first choice and it has availability, so we're going to pay to hold a place for next Spring. Check that off the list!

We've also ordered our Unbleached Indian Cotton Prefold Cloth Diapers and Thirsties Diaper Covers and they should arrive today. So we're pretty set there. Next on our list? The car seat and bases, which we'll order next month. Whew! So much to do to get ready for our little bundle of joy!

Today is gorgeous, despite our torrential rain on Monday and we have all of the windows opened, airing out the house and letting the sunshine in!

Flash Flooding!

On Monday afternoon a crazy storm rolled brought 50 miles an hour winds and about 4 inches of rain in 2 hours. The main street that runs parallel to ours flooded and soon enough ours did too. Here are photos of the neighbor across the street's driveway and side yard...water was gushing like a rapid!

Luckily, our driveway is sloped up from there and we didn't take on any water. The dogs were a bit stir crazy since the backyard was a muddy mess and they couldn't go out. By the next day, it was sunny skies and gorgeous! Ah! Okie weather!

Ono treats from Hawaii

There are a group of women who I have chatted with daily since September 2006...we all were married in Hawaii and "met" online at The Knot, while planning our weddings. Some of these gals live in the islands and most of us just love Hawaii and come from all across the US, Canada and Australia! We exchange gifts a couple of times of year. Last year it was Christmas Ornaments, if you remember the awesome ones I received from Evonne and Jaime. Once we receive them, we usually take photos of the items and post them on the forum we all chat on to share.

This summer, we decided to do one with little gifts that represent where we live. I drew Kristen, who lives in Colorado, and sent her items from the Made in Oklahoma Store...pralines, peach jam, BBQ dry rub and pecan chocolate turtles (missing from the photo, because they were too tasty!). Here's what Kristen got from me:

Lisa in Hawaii drew my name for this gift exchange and look what I got:

Yummy mac nut goodness in three flavors along with a cute note from Lisa!

Tanioka's Corn Flake and Chocolate Chip-Arare Cookies

Lisa and her husband John make these marble magnets from John's underwater photographs.
He's a free diver, which means he uses no snorkel or scuba equipment and just holds his breath for the photos! Aren't they just little gems of art!

Much mahalo to Lisa for sending us a slice of the islands! It makes me want to be there SO much more than I already do! I can hardly believe it's been two years since Joseph and I were in Kauai (for our wedding) and nearly a year since I was there, in Honolulu, for work, when I was lucky enough to meet Lisa in person!

It's funny, I chat online with this group of women daily. We've shared a lot...from wedding planning to life as newlyweds, family issues, work dramas, and for some of us, try to conceive and pregnancy. It's amazing how close you can become with people that you've hardly met in real life by share your daily experiences with online. I love my Hawaii Knotties, turned Nesties! They're a great bunch of ladies!

Back from the UK!

Whew! What a week! Last Monday, I departed Tulsa for a whirlwind tour of the UK. We landed in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday morning and checked into the Hotel du Vin. This boutique hotel is 5 stars and is a series of town homes that have been converted into luxurious suites, all names after famous wine makers. I stayed in the Graham Beck room:

The suite was large and well appointed. I appreciated that upon my arrival they had classical music playing on the Bose stereo next to the bed and the windows cracked with fresh air flowing in and cooling the room. It was located on the third floor and a bit of a trek with no elevators, but luckily the bellman brought up my bags (the next day, I foolishly dragged them back down to check-out on my own!). I love staying in a hotel with room darkening curtains and these ones were luxurious silk! I took a bath in the extra long and deep tub and climbed into bed around noon. Awaking at 5 p.m. I felt somewhat recovered from my overnight journey and I headed to dinner at Cafe Gandolfi with my colleagues.

Here's a photo of me and my 20 week bump just before heading to dinner.

I stayed away from the haggis (the national dish of Scotland and featured on every menu!) and black pudding (which is not some sort of dessert made with fudge, but actually a sausage made from blood! Ew.) and went for a stuffed chicken breast with new potatoes and rocket, which is what they call arugula. That was tasty and just the right meal after a long, jet-lagged journey. We returned to the Hotel du Vin and had some tea before turning in for the night.

The next day, Wednesday, we checked out of the hotel and had a marathon visit in Glasgow. We quickly toured the local Hilton (which may serve as one of the venues for our 2011 event) and then were off to see the Old Fruitmarket which now serves as a banquet and concert facility.

Glasgow's Old Fruitmarket

Next, we saw the City Chambers (where we would host our opening night reception):

and then went the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, where we toured around a bit and rested a while with some tea.

From there we headed to lunch at the House for An Art Lover, which is inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a Scottish artist, architect and designer and contemporary of our own Frank Lloyd Wright. The building, which hosts private events and weddings, and the gardens were gorgeous and lunch was tasty.

Next, it was back to the city center to tour the Royal Concert Hall (which is where we'd host our main event).

After that tour we had some tea and chatted for a while at Fifi and Ally's before heading to the airport, bound for Birmingham, England. What a day! My feet were killing me from all of the walking, especially tons of stairs, including down to the tarmac and up to the plane at the airport. We flew Flybe, which is the UK's equivalent to Southwest here. Never the less, I'd be happy if I never flew them again! That said, I'd love to return to Glasgow and really spend some quality time there, it's a great city!

Upon arriving in Birmingham around 8 p.m. we rode into the city center and checked into our suites at the Hyatt (yay for upgrades!). We were hungry and nothing on the hotel restaurant's menu appealed to us, so we sought out a nearby Italian restaurant, Piccolino's, where we ordered filet mignon and chips (steak fries) followed by yummy desserts. I fell into bed around 11 p.m. and finally dozed of around midnight.

The next morning, when I awoke, my bump seemed bigger! It was the weirdest thing! Even my colleague notice:

It's been that way ever since. Maybe the baby has moved up? I still haven't felt her kick or move (at least I don't think I have), but she's definitely taking up some more space now.

Friday morning, we headed off to visit the National Exhibition Centre, where we also had lunch and then visited the ICC, both are considerations as possible venues for our 2011 event. After touring both venues and climbing about 25 flights of stairs between the two, we headed back to our rooms to rest and freshen up for dinner, which was at Bank, where I had a delicious penne and goat cheese pasta dish with fresh asparagus and tomatoes followed by my new English obsession, sticky toffee pudding!

Friday morning we checked out of the hotel and drove down to Warwick University to see their conference facilities. After seeing their campus, including their dorms and music arts building, I couldn't help but feel that my college experience was less than posh! That afternoon, we drove down to Reigate and checked into the Bridge House Hotel. Exhausted from our whistle-stop tour, we ordered dinner in their restaurant and turned in early.

The next morning, Saturday, we checked out of the hotel and drove down to Brighton, my favorite stop of the week. This artsy beach town reminded me of my own haunts in California....sort of Berkeley meets Santa Cruz with a little Carmel-by-the-sea and Monterey thrown into the mix. We arrived early and walked down to the pier where we snapped up some souvenirs and candy to bring home.

Then we met back at the Brighton Dome, another consideration for our venues in 2011. The Brighton Dome and neighboring venue, Corn Exchange, were awesome! I loved the funky architecture and gorgeous tile work. We then scoped out the MyHotel, across the street, as a possible headquarters hotel and had lunch in its restaurant. The hotel is super chic and cool and I definitely would love staying there! It was a sunny day and we were happy to have been able to see the sea and wander through the shopping zone, called the Laines District, a bit.

After spending the day in Brighton, we drove down to the Renaissance Heathrow Hotel and checked in for our final night. The next morning we were off to the airport and nearly had an accident in the cab! The driver was insane! We made in one piece by my adrenaline was racing for sure. For an international hub, London-Heathrow airport seems a bit behind on it's security check-in process and if it were not for our "fast track" lanes due to Business Class status, I think we might have been stuck in the lines for a long, long time. We finally made it to our terminal and gate and boarded our American Airlines flight back to Chicago and then connected there to Tulsa. Exhausted, I got home, said hello to the furbabies, had a bowel of cereal and crashed until this morning.

All in all, it was a great trip. When I travel such a distance, I love to stay longer, but given that we had a job to do, I say we saw what we needed to see and now have very good options. I cannot wait to return in 2011 with Joseph and our daughter and make a vacation out of it. I'd definitely like to visit Glasgow and Brighton again and make it into London to see the sights there and possibly train over to Paris too. For a first trip to the UK, I think it was pretty great! I cannot wait until next time!

Proud moment

I came across this video today on It profiles our mentor, Miss Irene Dalis. After a 20 year career at the Metropolitan Opera, she retired from the stage and returned to San Jose, CA where she because a professor at San Jose State (our alma mater) and eventually, launched Opera San Jose, where J and I went from being friends and colleagues, to something more.

This woman in in her 80's and still works 5-6 days a week for the art she loves...OPERA! She also is 2003 she decided she wanted to drop some weight and get in shape, so she joined Weight Watchers and started walking her neighborhood and ended up dropping over 90 lbs and continues to walk 5 miles/day. She truly is an inspiration...J and I will forever me grateful for all the time she gave us over the years and for always believing in us as artists and as people. For more about the program J and I were Principal Resident Artist for 5 years, check out this link:

Team Pink!

We had our Level II Ultrasound today and it's confirmed...we're having a girl!

Everything is great and we got to see her for about 45 minutes today. She's measuring ahead by about a week and is in the 73% for size...about 12 ounces and has super long arms and legs. No doubt she'll be tall like mommy and daddy. Here are some more photos from today:




I burst into tears when we heard her's so amazing to hear and see a little being growing inside of me, even though I don't feel her yet. I hope I will soon! And we are relieved that so far, everything is right on track and looking really good! Yay for Team Pink!

Gettin' Crafty

In my 20's I was a pretty crafty person in the I-wanna-be-the-next-Martha-Stewart sense. As I entered my 30's life got busy with running my own business and a lot of that went by the wayside until we got engaged and then I flew right back into my DIY ways. I've never met a paper project or glue gun I didn't like!

So, this weekend, I flexed my DIY muscles and made a pretty little lampshade to go with my antique lamp for our nursery. I bought the self-adhesive lampshade and fabric at JoAnn's. The lampshade comes with a paper wrapper that you peel off to reveal a sticky surface to which the fabric is adhered. You use the paper wrapper as a template to cut the fabric to size. I trimmed the inside (covered the selvage edge) with cream colored bias tape glued in place with fabric glue. All in all, the project took about an hour and here's how it came out:

I just adore this lamp. It was in my room as a toddler and I remember being so fascinated with the fact that the mommy's dress was a nightlight. The baby rocks back and forth too, if the music box mechanism is wound. I have kept in a box for about 30 years, lugging it to and fro on my many moves (one every year from 1994 to 2008!) waiting for the day that I could use it again. It's definitely shabby in a shabby chic kind of a way and I've debated sanding it and repainting it, but ya know what? I love it, just the way it is!

We have velvet curtains in the same shade of blue already hanging in the room, so the shade coordinates nicely with the blue painted accents on the baby in the cradle as well as the mother's book and seat and plays down all of the pink! It looks super cute next to our awesome new swivel rocker recliner.

Oh, and here's my weekly bump photo...not too different than last week's!

And silly J getting in on the action too! He's such a joker!