Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Dentist

We just returned from a very successful first visit to the dentist.

Sam loved all of the attention and followed instructions very well.

It definitely helped to have Grandma there for support!
He got to watch cartoons and pick out his own toothpaste flavor.

Pretty teeth!
He was so excited to get a bag of goodies and a new toy when the Doctor was finished.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hermit Crabs

While at the pet store the other day (taking a "mini zoo trip", as my family would call it) Sam noticed the Hermit Crabs and asked for "the turdle one" for his birthday. I talked it over with Matt and we decided that this would be a great first pet for Sammy and that we would go ahead and get them now so we didn't lose the one with the turtle shell.

Meet, "Reef." (Sam named them all himself!)
He is THRILLED with his new pets. Everyone we see gets an earful about his "bermit babs."
Their set-up is pretty sweet. They love to climb so they are usually on the top of the log and/or leaves.
We got him one crab for every year of his life. He had a fun time picking out their colorful shells.

"Reef" is the favorite. He's really audacious and climbs all over Sam.
"Pico" and "Beach". Beach is very shy. I'm not sure I have even seen her out of the shell yet...
If you have any knowledge about Hermit Crabs, let us know! We are very new to owning crustaceans, but so far we are loving it!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Janet Ainslie Aprecio

Matt's Mom, Jan, passed away on the 10th of March. I have been putting off this post for a few reasons, but one of them being that I feel different about the loss everyday. Together Matt and I have experienced denial, anger, sorrow, frustration and acceptance. All normal emotions when dealing with death, but still very hard.

On Wednesday March 7th, we had an amazing visit with Jan at the hospital. She was awake, in good spirits and excited to see us. Sam gave Grandma a Dora sticker and told her all about his day. He gave her a kiss goodbye, and we left not realizing that this was going to be the last time we saw her.

It was perfect.

Jan slipped into a coma the next day and Matt, Shauna and Ben were by her side when she took her last breath.

We are all so thankful to have been able to spend so much time with Jan. We miss her a lot, but we live without any regrets.
Matt, Shauna and I were able to pay tribute to Jan at her funeral on Saturday. It was a beautiful service.
Matt gave a great eulogy while Shauna and I spoke about memories we had of Jan and lessons we learned from her.

(After the funeral. How handsome are these boys?!)

I started dating Matthew in 2005 and I remember him being extremely nervous about me meeting his parents. On our way over for dinner for the first time, Matt said something around the lines of “If my Mom doesn’t like you, you’ll know it.”

Not long after meeting her, I realized that this honesty went both ways.
If Jan loved you, you’d know it.
She gave everything to her family and friends. Sacrifice and charity were two things that she gave willingly and freely. Her entire life was spent serving and loving others. Her own dogs, and I believe she had a total of 9 of them at one point, were spoiled and loved to the point of obsession. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt and Shauna have a deep seeded jealousy for the pups.

Jan had such a passion when it came to caring for others, that she made a career out of it. When she wasn’t at home taking care of her family, she was at the hospital treating strangers and employees with the same love and respect.

On top of being the most charitable person I know, Jan was bright and quick witted. She loved to tell stories and jokes and enjoyed (without any discomfort) being the center of attention. She had no problem sharing embarrassing stories of herself if she thought it would get a good laugh. Like the time that she drove away from the gas station with the nozzle still attached to the car or when she would sing the Sir Mix A Lot song wrong. “I like big butts, and I like big butts.”

One thing I know I will always remember and sincerely miss is her laugh.

Jan was one tough lady. She never allowed anyone to bully her, take advantage of her or push her around. She told me once that there were a few doctors who she worked with that hated her because she would require them to say “please” and “Thank you” when they ordered her to do a task.

Her stubbornness and hard-headed nature kept her strong willed and driven. She was successful in all areas in her life because she made a decision to do something, and did it. She never gave up and only tried harder when people believed she would fail. She took a lot of pride in proving naysayers wrong.

When she was diagnosed with cancer, a friend of Ben and Jan’s told them that he believed that if anyone could beat cancer, it was Jan. And that she would beat it black and blue.

Throughout her fight with the disease she stayed positive, upbeat and strong. She continued to be selfless and was more concerned about how her illness was affecting others.

During the last week of her life, when her mind and body could handle the pain no more, her heart continued to beat. A nurse mentioned to Matt that even when her body had begun giving up, Jan’s heart was too strong for her to go.

Jan’s loving heart continued days after her body succumbed to the cancer. How perfect for someone who’s strong heart symbolized the way they led their life.

Her example will forever shape how I live my everyday life. I owe her more than I will ever be able to repay. I hope that I will be an equally incredible example to my Son in order for him to have an idea of who his grandmother was.

The bar is set high, but I have steps laid out for me to follow, thanks to my mother-in-law, Jan.

I have so much more to say, but there are plenty more posts for that. Right now we are focused on getting life back in order, spending time with our family and doing our best to do what we think would make Jan proud.

Monday, March 19, 2012

San Francisco

Last weekend I got to fly to San Francisco with my bestie. I was shooting a wedding on Friday, but Shannon and I stayed a few extra days and had some much needed fun.

Our first morning together in the city we walked around the bay, ate amazing foods and did a little shopping.

We made a quick trip down to Pier 39 to check out the view and the famous sea lions.

We enjoyed walking through the boardwalk and checking out a few of the shops.
Wine tasting and lunch on the waterfront.
The wind picked up mid afternoon so we turned ourselves into tourists and went into Ripley's museum.

We HAD to get a picture with the mummified walrus....part.

The museum had these funny mirrors to make faces in. We didn't know until the end that people are on the other side laughing at you.

This was a trick gate. We spent at least 30 minutes trying to figure it out and watched other people get frustrated too. FINALLY, we got it to open.

We laughed like children trying to walk through the spinning tunnel.
Shannon and I got SOOO lost in the mirror maze. So very lost.
Next, we hit up the chocolate factory.

When dinner time arrived we made the decision to get fancied up and head out to Forbes Island for some expensive food. It was so romantic :)
After dinner we climbed to the top of the lighthouse to check out the city at night.

The next morning, our last day in California, we headed uptown (in our awesome Fiat!) for some breakfast. On our way we drove down Lombard street.
Thanks to Yelp, we ended up at this tiny, but highly recommended cafe called "The Red Door." There are only 6 tables and the guy who owns it comes out into the street and "interviews" the people waiting to get in. He tells you that "he has to love you to feed you." He has a list of rules on the door that you have to follow if you want to get in.

"This is not a restaurant, this is an experience. So please come with an open mind, a kind heart and a fun personality and I promise you a trip on my flamboyant love boat to heaven."
This is "D", the owner. He loved us right away. If he likes you, he hands you a doll that you get to "love" while you wait for your table.

Here is Shannon and Jessica.
And me and Trixie.
On top of being a really fun experience, the food was amazing and one of a kind.

His restaurant is filled with trinkets, dolls and images. Many of them either very inappropriate or very creepy. It really made for a one of a kind meal though!

On our way out of the city, we drove through China Town.
We wanted to do a little sightseeing, so we checked out a few of the parks and beaches.

We drove all the way down to Land's End where we took a tour of The Baths.
Down by the water there are ruins from an old bath house that burned to the ground in the 1920's. It was a really neat place to explore and take pictures.
 Ocean sea tunnel. We ran into HS friends in here. Isn't that random?!

We got back to the airport just in time for once last dinner in California. Then we flew out in style on Virgin Airlines. Doesn't it look like a nightclub? 
We took this picture and then laughed at the fact that neither of us could explain why we were holding up the number 3.
I can't wait to go back to San Fran!