Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reliving the Love

I was talking on the phone to my friend Lindsay the other day, and was explaining my situation with work coming to a close for the season, and thinking out loud about my need to stay busy until April, when my life as I know it will end. She encouraged me to do the things that I've always wanted to do, or meant to do, but haven't had the time. Because after that, she said, who has time to play catch up with old projects when suddenly there are so many new ones to jump into?

And so two and a half years after the fact, I printed out my favorites from our wedding photos and made an album. We've always had a slideshow on hand with the "best of the best" digital photos for visitors and friends to see, but no matter how advanced technology becomes, no slideshow will ever be the same as flipping through an album with mounted photographs and hand-written captions scrawled in silver pen.

These are a very few of our favorite photos. It hasn't been enough years since our wedding that we look back and think, "Wow, we used to be so skinny and good looking!", but I'm sure that it will happen some day soon. Photography was one of the (many) areas where we cut corners at our wedding, so our photos were taken almost exclusively by my talented college friend Evelyn and a talented friend of Marcos' family named Kerri, who I think did a great job. We were married in the Timpanogos Temple in Utah on April 12, 2007.

If you're getting a little tired of the kissing theme, let me just remind you that I have just looked through some 600 wedding photos, and you have no idea how out of control it really was. We did just hear back from some friends that our recent Christmas card was rather "kissy" too though, so I guess some things just don't change...

The parents (above). My "sisters" Amanda and Lindsay. I just cropped and color fixed this photo, and it has totally come to life for me...

Marcos' family (minus Sammy who was on a mission at the time).

Marcos and his father. I guess the kissing tradition predates me. It was a fine baton to hand down though... I really hit the jackpot getting married to Marcos.

Monday, December 28, 2009

'Twas the Season to be jolly

This year we decided to stay in North Carolina for the Christmas holidays, and it was a treat to be a part of all of the goings-on here in Chapel Hill. Weather-wise, we had one day of non-stop snow which I eagerly took pictures of, but because it didn't, you know... stick to the ground, the pictures were a little anti-climactic. Just imagine that it was beautiful and we all had the fleeting feeling that we were in a Winter Wonderland.

But here is a little of what we did: The posh Relief Society Christmas party...

An outing to the Carolina Inn with our Family Home Evening friends to see local artist's displays of the Twelve Days of Christmas...

Our Christmas decorations...

Multiple cookie-decorating endeavors...

And a number of gingerbread house building parties...

But sometimes it's the little things that make Christmas special. One of my favorite memories from our busy Christmas week is taking a walk around the neighborhood through the warm misty darkness hand in hand with Marcos on Christmas night, bellies satisfied after two eating fests with friends, and talking about our future...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas to all!

Dearest Family & Friends,

As we put up our holiday decorations and think about all that has happened since we last found ourselves tangled in Christmas lights a year ago, we can't help but feel that the experiences and adventures of 2009 have made us very rich indeed. Yet above the academic, professional and travel adventures of this past year, we are grateful for the Wise Men in our lives who remind us that none of these successes will ever be as valuable as having success in our family. In April of 2010 we will be welcoming our little daughter Giovanna into the world, and that has become our most important achievement of the year.

We wish you the merriest, most peaceful and simple of Christmases and a Happy New Year!

Lots of Love,

Marcos, Metta & Giovanna on the way

Photography by Darling Art Photography

Friday, December 18, 2009

Do I have to...?

I sewed a small apron last night as a Christmas present for my friend's 3-year old daughter. Once in a while I make something for someone else that surprises me with its cuteness and I want to keep it after all...


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Secrets revealed: The Love Punch

Recently I volunteered to make the punch for a holiday party. Sometimes, when you have a wicked good recipe and you know it's really that good, it becomes difficult to suppress the amazingness that should be shared and enjoyed.

The irony of the punch experience was that, after a day of lovingly layering an ice-mold of fresh sliced strawberries and sprigs of mint, I arrived at the designated set-up hour to fill the punch bowl, which was surprisingly shaped like a bowl for fish. My ornate ice mold, which had been layered into a fluted pan, was absolutely not going to fit into the narrow opening of the punch bowl!

In the end, the host's love for the punch bowl won out over my love for the ice mold, and five minutes later I was tiptoeing barefoot out to the sidewalk with the ice mold in a plastic bag, to drop it onto the cement and break it. Luckily, with all of the other action going on in the punch bowl, nobody noticed that the ice mold was floating in pieces.

The Love Punch
(Spontaneously named for the heart-shaped ice cubes I added to the bowl)

1 liter of lemon-lime flavored soda (7-up, Sprite, etc.)
1 can of frozen white grape juice, made to direction (meaning, add the 3 cans of water)
3 bags of Bigelow Perfect Peach herbal tea, with the strings snipped

I was skeptical at first that the herbal tea bags would do their duty without being steeped in hot water, but trust me, if you set them into the cold drink for just a few minutes they will flavor the entire bowl with just a hint of something that nobody can put their finger on, but everybody will love!

P.S. If anyone figures out a clever way to weigh the tea bags to the bottom of the bowl, let me know. Because they are not extremely sightly and some people object to having tea bags in their punch, I also briefly thought about taking them out after a few minutes, but... I couldn't be bothered.

Location #7: Swiss Railway Journey

Ever since I was in grade school and watched Swiss Railway Journey travel shows on television during the dinner hour with my mom and grandparents, I have had a dream to take one of those journeys through the Swiss Alps.

And in September, my dream came true.

On our trip through Europe in September, Marcos and I planned a long weekend for Switzerland on our way back from Italy to Munich, Germany. Remember my Swiss pen pal Stella from sixth grade whom we met in Paris? Well, she had invited us to stay with her and her boyfriend Matthias in their home in the village of Zofingen, and when I told her we were planning to take a ride on the railway journey called the "Golden Pass", she asked if they could come. Of course! Not only was it a dreamy day because of the experience, but also because of the great company.

We started out the journey in Lucerne, Switzerland (above picture), and basically journeyed on trains in a big loop that covered the length of nearly two thirds of the country in the better part of one day (Switzerland is about half the size of Maine, for those of you who find comparisons helpful). For most of the journey, Stella had reserved seats for us in the special "panoramic" train cars, which had windows that swept up the sides of the train, as shown below. This really was a luxury ride...

On the little tables in front of us were maps of the mountainous journey so that we could keep track of where we were. Below are Stella and Matthias. We had just met Matthias that morning, and we loved him as immediately as we had loved Stella. The world is full of great people.

I'll stop captioning these photos in a minute because I know I'm really just interrupting something much more gorgeous than type print, but the photo above is the countryside that rolled out after we pulled out of Lucerne. Doesn't it look like people are staring at a travel poster on the wall? And really, that's how Switzerland is: endless fresh views worthy of a travel poster.

And then, there was a little time for this too. Marcos and I had actually arrived in Switzerland earlier that morning on an overnight train from Florence (where we had comfortable but minimal sleep), so we had to recharge with brief catnaps...

At our first transfer town, we had an hour to wait for the next train, and unpacked our picnic by a river. Fresh bread, cheeses, chocolate, mmmm...

One of my all-time favorite photographs from our railway journey is this one below. I love the train disappearing into the distance, and how the blurred trees lend such a feeling of movement.

The panoramic cars were located at the front of the train, and although the seats squarely at the front of the cars were reserved for the VIPs of the VIPs, I was able to take some pictures above their heads. What an incredible view!

The final destination for the Golden Pass route was the city of Lausanne on Lake Geneva. It was raining just a smidgen when we disembarked from the train, but the boardwalk, interesting buildings and view across to the French side of the lake made it a very pretty place to walk around and stretch our legs before hopping the next train back to Bern.

As our train to Bern pulled out of Lausanne and climbed the hills overlooking Lake Geneva, it was easy to see why the area is considered the wine country of Switzerland. Below are the endless vineyards that produce the vast majority of Swiss wines.

In the early evening, we arrived back in downtown Bern, the capital city of Switzerland. Having grown up in Hawaii, which only became the 50th American state in 1959 (three years after my mom was born there), I am amazed by buildings and streets that clearly have seen a lot of history. Maybe someday we will visit the Pyramids, and Bern will seem like a young spring chicken...

To end our day of Swiss eye-candy, Matthias and Stella kindly treated us to dinner at a very schick restaurant in Bern where we sampled elegant foods and I coveted the incredible flower arrangements.

Houston, after an intense day of soaking in Switzerland, I think we have found Heaven on Earth...