Thursday, May 28, 2009

My New Little Bro

So in an effort to carry my share of the weight in the blogosphere, I figured it was about time I added a post. Fortunately, I feel like I've got something a bit worthwhile to finally share. A few months ago I decided to look into volunteering with the Big Brothers & Big Sisters program. Well, after a couple interviews, an orientation and the mandatory background check (all clear!), I finally met my new little brother on Wednesday.


Like me, my new little's name is Michael. He's 10-years-old, the oldest of five children and a total sports nut. We totally hit it off during our introductory meeting, and I can honestly say that getting to know Michael is probably at the top of my list of things I'm looking forward to this summer. I'll be sure to check back in periodically with updates. Until then, here's a pic from yesterday's meeting.



Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Well, to start it off, Michael and I had a great Memorial Day weekend. After having some work done on both of our cars on Friday morning, we left that afternoon on the 6 hour drive to Los Angeles. The drive was quick and uneventful, especially since we were listening to an audio book, Life of Pi.
But we only got halfway through it, of course. We both thought that the first half of this book was really good. It was just about so many different things, from behind-the-scenes zoo operations to life lessons and religion. We were interested to see how it ended... More about that later.

The first thing we did once we got to LA was go to Lauren's house and get settled in. We loved seeing and playing with Lauren's two dogs, BJ (the pomeranian) and Azul (the pitbull).


Then we went bowling with Lauren, Jean and Michael's cousin, Eric. There was surprisingly delicious food there. Despite steep competition, Michael won the game.

The next day we went hiking in Malibu. Here's a picture that I feel belongs on the next season of America's Next Top Model. Please note my pointed toes and Michael's expression.



We had some great seafood in a little restaurant on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway, where I found out that Michael's aversion to mayonaise-based food products is actually a family trait, as Lauren has similar feelings. :)
The next day we went to an awesome museum called the Getty. Although it had some really beautiful displays of famous paintings (I accidentally had my flash on while taking a picture of a Monet and got scolded), photographs (got scolded again for trying to take a picture of the pictures), and scuptures (I played it safe and didn't take any photos), my favorite part of the museum were the carefully laid-out gardens and courtyards.

Another thing that I found hilarious was that Michael, Lauren and Eric all just happened to wear teal shirts that day. So of course I took a bunch of artsy pictures of them around the museum. This one was my favorite:

That night we hung out with some of Lauren's friends, having a few drinks and watching some comdey on TV. It was a really good time - especially watching the battles between Lauren's dog and their dog for a coveted bone.

The next morning (this morning), we got up and started the drive home. We had a great weekend and were sad to leave Lauren's, but we wanted to get home in time to get ready for the upcoming week.
So we listened to Life of Pi again on the way home. Wow, the second half of the book definitely left us with a completely different feeling than the first half. It was sort of funny because at the exact same point we both turned to each other, rolled our eyes, and said "Enough with the imagery! Move on!" We even fast-forwarded through some points, didn't finish it, then read the SparkNotes of the ending once we got home. It actually had a good ending and had some interesting messages. In the end, it was a good way to pass the time on such a long road trip!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The first step toward owning a home...

Michael and I met with one of my parents' friends, Paul Holmes, who was also their real estate agent when they were looking at houses here in Arizona. Paul also helped JP and Shannon with their home, so we both like Paul and respect him as a great source of knowledge!

It's not that we're looking to buy a home tomorrow, but we do see that happening sometime in the relatively near future. So we met with Paul to just go over some questions we had about the market and what the first step would be for us as first-time home buyers. One thing we did learn was that all first-time home buyers can get up to a $8000 tax credit if they buy a home before December 1, 2009. Overall, I'd say it was a great meeting and it really opened my eyes to all of the stuff we'd be getting into when looking to buy a home.

I don't have any pictures relating to this blog specifically, so I'll just include some pictures from earlier this month.

Here is a picture of our last big "hurrah!" at CopperWynd. Michael and I were pretty bummed to hear that it's closing down many aspects of the resort. So the Martins and Phoenix Shockleys went out in style:

And I loved this picture of Kai and Uncle Michael:

The weekend after this, Michael and I babysat our nephew, Kai, all weekend! We had him for about 48 hours - overnights included! It was a great success and Kai was such a good kid the whole time. We went out to eat, played at the Fountain Hills park, and watched a couple thrilling episodes of Sponge Bob Square Pants. Here's a picture of Michael and Kai at the park:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Two Week Recap

Since we've only just joined the blogging community, we might start off just recapping what's been going on in our lives lately.

Last weekend Michael went to San Francisco to visit his friends, Jacob and Carlo. Jacob was graduating with his MBA and Michael hadn't seen these guys since they were groomsmen in our wedding! He had a really great time staying with Carlo, and was glad to be there for Jacob's graduation.

On May 8th, the non-profit I work for had its annual gala. It was a very big deal for our organization because it raises nearly 50% of our yearly costs. The theme of the night was Midnight in Morocco, and the ballroom was gorgeous! I got to get all dressed up and see a few famous people, such as Luis Gonzales (from the Arizona Diamondbacks). I worked most of the event, but we did get to eat the same food that the attendees did (which meant filet mignon, shrimp and cream risotto, and chocolate cake)!

Here is a picture of me and my friend Lauren:

And here is a picture of four of us girls:

We're both back to work all this week, but we can't wait to drive out to Los Angeles to hang out with Michael's sister, Lauren, for Memorial Day. It'll be so good to see her and spend some time together.

Now I'm off to finish watching the finale of Dancing with the Stars and trying to figure out all of this blog stuff!

Welcome!

Hello blog readers!

We (read: I) have decided to start a blog! I really hope I don't seem vain by assuming that anyone would be interested in reading about our day-to-day activities. But since I love reading other peoples' blogs, I decided to give it the ole' college try.

I'll try to post updates on what is going on in our lives, along with some pictures or future plans. It might be a great way to keep our long-distance loved ones in touch about the newest news!

Thanks for taking the time to read!

Love,
Julie