Friday, December 18, 2009

Reflections on the past year...good...and bad....

Can you believe we're 1 week away from Christmas 2009?!? I don't know about you guys, but hasn't this past year absolutely flown by?!? I can honestly say that it was a very eventful year! There were a lot of AMAZING events that took place (like my engagement ~ yipee) as well as some very disheartening events (like Brian's daughter uninviting him from her wedding - long story which I will share with my readers very soon!)

Let me share with you some of the 'Highlights' of our year 2009!!

March was my very first trip to Minnesota! Brian's best friend of 35+ years was celebrating his 50th birthday! These guys haven't been apart from each other's lives the entire time they've known each other!!! Jerry had no idea that we were flying in THAT MORNING, nor did he even know there was a party in the works!!! It was very, very emotional when they saw each other again!!! (Brian had moved from Minnesota to California 10 months prior to this B-day Bash ~ He had lived in Minnesota his entire life) I am so very happy that we got to be a part of Jerry's special day!!!!

But before that trip, Brian's daughter, Jackie came for a quick visit with some college friends. We got to show them around Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, as well as across the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was a great time!!! I'll have to admit, going to Minnesota was very nerve-wracking for me because number 1) I was going to not only be meeting his family, I was going to be meeting his grown, adult children! And number 2) It was going to be COOOOLLLLLDDDDD!!! However, I was so excited to see the Mall of America more than ANYTHING!

I couldn't believe there was a ROLLER COASTER in the middle of the mall! There was a ferris wheel, a log ride, a whole amusement park for kiddo's there! Not to mention the three or was it four levels?!? A gazillion stores, several Victoria Secrets, tons of restaurants and lot and lots to see! If you ever want to go there, I'd suggest you plan on spending an entire 8 hours just to be able to see and do everything there is to do! Trust me on this one!!! And if you have little ones, the Nickelodeon Park is very awesome!!!

I was so very honored to be with Brian when he met 3 of this Grandchildren for the very first time! It was so amazing!!! A year ago this past May, Brian re-connected from his daughter whom he hadn't seen for just about 20 years! Shortly after re-connecting with her, he was transferred from Minnesota to California, so they only had one opportunity to 'meet' for the first time before having to leave for California.

I just adore these three little boys! They are so adorable!!!

In April, a very good friend of ours got married and I was privileged and honored to have made her wedding cake! It was a 4 tiered square French Vanilla cake filled with fresh Strawberries! This is one of the few weddings where I was able to set up the cake and then enjoy the wedding ceremony along with the dinner and reception! It was a very fun, enjoyable evening!

In May, we ventured on our second trip to Minnesota. This time for one of Brian's daughter's graduation from University of Minnesota ~ Mankato. This is the same daughter who came and visited us in March. I'd have to be honest and say it was a very weird situation for me. I informally "met" the ex-wife. I had a lot of mixed emotions going into this trip, but very apprehensive!! All four of Brian's children from his 21 year marriage was there (all whom I met on our previous trip) and they were very cordial to me. However, I still felt oh....kinda out of place. Nonetheless, I enjoyed myself!

That same day was my 41st birthday as well. Brian's brother and wife took us to a very well-known, upscale restaurant in that area called the Hubble House. It was phenomenal!!! They have had very famous people come through their establishment and they had autographs from each and every one of them....all the way back in the day! As far back as Ulysses S. Grant! Seriously! I throughly enjoyed this birthday celebration!!!! Knowing Mother's Day was the day after my birthday and having to be away from home and my kid's kinda got me feeling a little depressed, but the dinner was very uplifting!!!

In early June, a big group of friends gathered at a local Mexican restaurant for Happy Hour. This particular establishment is famous for their $1.50 Margaritas on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Through the ever popular new Facebook craze, I re-connected with a ton of high school friends. One of these was my friend Victor. We went to Junior High School together and the last time we saw each other was the last day of my 7th grade year! That was 25+ years ago. He is such a great guy and came all the way out to join us this particular night!!! :) (Yes, I did have a crush on him back then!!)

Our final trip to Minnesota for the year was in late June. Originally, one of the reasons for this trip is because Brian's eldest daughter's wedding was on the Saturday the 20th. However, things changed and Brian was no longer invited to the wedding. (I was still invited should I have chosen to go...which I didn't). Not only was the wedding the reason for the trip, but also, Sunday the 21st was Father's Day and Monday the 22nd was Brian's birthday!!! We were there spending it with family and tons of great friends!!! As you can see in the picture, I got to see the Minnesota Twins play one of their last games in the Dome!!! Woo Hoo!! The most memorable moment of this trip was on Father's Day when Brian proposed to me in front of more than 10 of his family members!!!! Of course, I said "YES"!!!

In August, Brian's brother rode his Harley from Minnesota all the way out here to California! Yes, he did!!! It took him three days to get here ~ and that's pushing it, and three TWO days to get back! He was one riding fool!!! Anyhow, we spend an amazing 5 days doing the total tourist thing! We visited Santa Cruz, Yosemite, Sausalito, San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. In this picture, we were at a restaurant in Capitola. This is a BEAUTIFUL restaurant! The have a "hillavator" in which you have to ride down in to the restaurant!! The restaurant is several split levels and has both indoor/outdoor seating.

In early September, I had the opporunity to see Julianne Hough and Billy Ray Cyrus perform in "Country in the Park" in at Gibson Ranch in Sacramento! Some very good friends of ours had VIP tickets so we had back stage passes along with Meet & Greet passes! Woo Hoo! We had free lunch and all you can drink drinks! Beer, soda, water, you name it! I had a wonderful time, but I have to say it was quite a disappointment meeting Billy Ray. He was not friendly, personable or anything! We were told prior to him making his appearance back stage that he would only do one autograph and one photo, however his guy had to take the picture. Whatever works I suppose! Meeting Julianne Hough was amazing. She is a very down to earth gal and was very nice to all the fans!!!

I almost forgot to mention our AMAZING Engagement picture session with the AMAZING Jaye Reilly! She is a very phenomenal photographer and a wonderful person! I couldn't be more pleased with how our pictures turned out! I am so very, very excited that we were able to have Jaye join us on our Wedding Cruise and she will be shooting all of our wedding related activities, along with the ceremony which will take place on the Beach on Catalina Island!

In October, we went to the San Francisco Giant's last home game of 2009! Brian can actually say that he went to a Giant's home game!!We were lucky because the weather wasn't too cold, and in the same token it wasn't too hot either.

What's so special about this you ask?!? Well, when I was walking back to our seats after visiting the lady's room, what do I find?!? Brian down on his knees with a my ring!!! Yipee! I didn't know he had actually bought the ring yet. We picked it out and everything but we never ordered it....or so I thought!!!

My sweet dear 88-year-old Grandma Sally came for her annual visit from Hawaii! We were lucky enough to get together with her this time on 3 different occasions! And it's always so much fun getting together with all my ohana (that's family in Hawaiian)!! We get to see relatives we haven't seen in a long time, sometimes even meeting for the first time. We get to eat some awesome Filipino and/or Hawaiian dishes that I would never get unless Grandma was here! :)

Can't wait for her visit again next year!

Brian and I had a number of invitations for Thanksgiving this year ~ inlcuding one from my son and his girlfriend. Unfortunately, since Brian works in retail, he had to be at work the next morning, Black Friday, at 3 a.m., so naturally, we couldn't make the drive to Sacramento which is about an hour and a half North of us and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with them. We did however, have a late lunch/early dinner with some very wonderful and dear friends of ours; Grandpa & Liz!

The 4th of December brings so many people's birthdays that I know. Seriously....I think I know 5 people personally who was born on the 4th of December! Last year I was honored to make some very good friend ours daughter's 1st birthday. It was a Castle Cake (which you can see here: ) I was privileged enough to do her cake again this year. I absolutely loved the theme and I had complete fun creating this cake!!! It was a French Vanilla cake with Strawberry filling, iced completely in Pink Buttercream icing and decorated with Marshmallow Fondant polka dots and stripes! So much fun!!! Little Elise loved it as well!

So, you've just read though just a glimpse of our 2009. I have some photos of my children and I at different get togethers throughout the year as well. My grown, adult children along with my 13-year-old always seems to think that when I ask for photos of the three of them together, they have to pose silly. It's hard enough to get the three of them together at one time due to everyone's school and work schedules not to mention the distance, but they have to always be goofy?!? I will dedicate a special post just for my children, staring my children. :)

Thanks for reading!!! Happy Friday everyone!!!

P.S. Don't forget about my GIVE AWAY!!!


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