A Year of Paige!

Surprise!

Yesterday marked an entire year since we brought our quirky kitty, Paige, home. Here is a fun little reenactment we did last night to celebrate. Paige was not amused.

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I have five and a half more weeks left of my first school year and I cannot believe it went by so fast! I am excited to be done and on to summer, but at the same time, I am a little sad. I really love my class and I will be sad when they move on. Here is a picture from teacher appreciation week.

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Oh! The kids talked me into getting a class pet too.

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With baseball season FINALLY started, Ben and I have been spending a good amount of time at Angels Stadium.

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Overall, 2015 has been a great year so far, incredibly busy, but great. Here are some pictures from some of the bigger things we have done this year.

Ben’s Birthday

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Of course a picture from our Disneyland trips

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My birthday morning

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The Temecula trip that Ben surprised me with for my birthday.

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Disneyland with my dad and Jan (and Jan’s hat) for my birthday.

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My cousin’s wedding.

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And of course, pictures of the cats.

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I can’t wait for summer and all the fun things we have planned (including our incredibly exciting trip to Walt Disney World)!

Happy thoughts to all!

–Lauren

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Back from the Dead

Wha?! A new blog post? Is it true? It’s been over a year since we last posted on here which makes sense because I have now been employed for the same amount of time.

The last year has brought with it a lot of changes. We moved to Fullerton, we started a Literary Magazine, we got a new cat, and the newest change of all, I finally landed a full-time real-deal teaching job (eek!).

It’s been a crazy, busy, exciting, stressful year, but its been fantastic! I might try to update the blog a little more now and then. But be prepared, it might just be the mad ramblings of a stressed out new teacher.

For now, here are some picture highlights from 2014.

First, we went to Coachella again. It was fun, but we did not purchase tickets for next year. It might have to do with the fact that the weather was awful again and someone hit me in the head with a water bottle.

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Our band photo…

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Next, we have our beautiful new kitty, Miss Paige.

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Isn’t she adorable?! Her and Story are bestest of friends (although it took a while).

Next, we have our trip to Hawaii. Here are just a couple pictures, but we had an amazing time!

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This was outside the amazing Disney hotel, Aulani.

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In our pool with my waterproof phone case.

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On our first waterfall hike we went on (the one I thought we would never return from).

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Here we are on Waikiki Beach at Sunset.

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These photos were taken on our second hike.

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A couple more of our kitty-girls.

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Paige takes after Story with the lady-like poses and forgetting to put her tongue back in.

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This summer we have been working on making our house more home-y which includes this cool bench. Ben built the frame, we both painted it, and I made the cushions. It took a lot longer than I thought, but it was totally worth it. I love sitting out on our patio on the weekends.

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Ben and I hosted a little 4th of July party with friends this year. It was so much fun! Our house was surrounded by fireworks! It was fantastic!

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And finally, here is a picture of me with my contract for the following school year. This was one of the most exciting and happiest days! I am so so so excited!

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Until next time!

Universally No Whales

Happy May!

Because I only shared about Coachella last time, there are some things that happened last month that I didn’t get the chance to blog about. So this post will mostly be about some of the fun things we did at the end of April with a little sprinkling of May.

Firstly, Santanero got a write-up in OC Weekly! It was very exciting to see Eric’s picture with a great article written by Gustavo Arellano. If anyone is interested in reading the article, here is the link (Click Here).IMG_1006

Another fun thing we did this month was go whale watching! I found a groupon for it a little while ago and Ben and I thought it might be a fun little local adventure. Although we didn’t end up seeing any whales, we did see a lot of dolphins and generally had a great time. Here are pictures of Ben and I waiting for the boat to leave the dock.SAM_2921

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And us once the boat started going.SAM_2927

The first wildlife we saw was a line of gulls flying across the water. It was very beautiful.IMG_1361

Then the pods of dolphins started arriving.IMG_1365

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We also saw some sea lions. Ben’s theory is they are called sea lions because they are always lyin’ around hehe.IMG_1398

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Here are a couple more pictures of us.SAM_2956

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Even though we didn’t see any whales, it was fun to be out on the water and see wildlife all around us.

The next thing Ben and I decided to do was to go to Universal Studios. I had only been there as a small tike (and the only thing I remember is getting REALLY scared when Jaws pops up out of the water on the studio tour), and Ben had never been before. It seemed like a fun way to spend our day, so we woke up early and headed to Universal. Here we are!IMG_1242

The first thing we did was head over to The Simpsons area. The area around the ride was really cool and made it feel like you were in Springfield. The ride itself, unfortunately, was kind of lame and made me very nauseous. We had fun taking pictures though.IMG_1243
We even found Bart and Lisa to take pictures with! Notice Homer behind Ben creepily staring. Ben claims he had a donut in his back pocket.IMG_1248

After going on the studio tour (which was probably Ben and I’s favorite “ride”) we took some glamor shots before heading down the “largest escalator system in the world.” IMG_1255

And now its my turn.IMG_1256

We managed to take one of those awkward couple self-portraits too. Good thing Ben has nice long arms to hold the camera far enough away.IMG_1258

Ben took this picture of our exciting journey down the “largest escalator system in the world.” At least that is what the Studio tour people told us. It seemed like the largest system, I thought we would never stop escalating.

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Once we reached the bottom we went on the new Transformers ride (which was pretty awesome, but also made me nauseous) and the Mummy ride (which was very just okay). While we were waiting for my nausea to pass (again), we checked out the Jurassic Park store. I think all those 3D/film rides are not fun for my stomach anymore.IMG_0414

After riding the rides at the bottom, we headed back up those record holding escalators and sat down to wait for one last show. Here are some pictures I took while we were waiting. Classy…IMG_1261

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We had a great day at Universal, but we’ll be sticking to Disneyland. Mostly because I don’t have to sit down and wait for nausea to pass after every ride there (and because its just way better).

Ben and I have also managed to squeeze in a few Angels games in the last couple weeks.IMG_1272

Finally, Santanero celebrated their 1 year anniversary last weekend. Here is a picture of Ben and the rest of the Santanero crew.IMG_1357
Ben and I even won some art in the raffle! Woohoo!IMG_0463

We also found this cool Egyptian themed hallway in the Santanero office building. It was a great celebratory night and they raised a good amount of money for both Santanero and a local artist who needed funds to finish a city mural.IMG_0455

Now lets do our obligatory Story picture part of the post. After Coachella, Story was very happy we were back home. IMG_1182

Silly kitty with her tongue still sticking out.IMG_1193

Another sleepy Story.IMG_1217

This is Story’s new trick. She likes to get up on top of the TV in our bedroom and look for bugs on the ceiling.

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And finally on the Story front, last weekend we also celebrated the 1 year of having Story. We got her last year on Cinco de Mayo and we couldn’t imagine life without her. Here is a picture the day we got her along with a picture on the “AnniverStory” haha.IMG_1375

She was such an adorable tiny kitten, and is such a beautiful cat now. I hope everyone has a great rest of the week, and a great weekend.

Love,
Lauren
(and Ben and Story)

A Hot and Windy Coachella

Hello!

Well, we made it through our second Coachella. We did have to cut out a little early due to the dust storm that blew in Sunday night, but being able to get home to a real shower and bed sooner was definitely worth it.

Our Coachella experience started when we pulled into the ultimately 3 hour security process where our cars get checked before going into the campgrounds. It sounds awful, but it is actually pretty fun. Everyone gets out of their cars and hangs out. I brought car window paint for the long wait, and we all had a great time decorating our cars. Here I am with my artwork.

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After setting up our campsite in the dark (which I don’t recommend) and a good night’s sleep we awoke Friday morning to a hot day 1. Here is a picture of our camp set-up. That blue tarp is covering our tent from the sun. By the end of the weekend, we had quite a few tarps hanging all over to protect us from the sun. Luckily, we had a pop-up canopy to cover the truck bed where we spent most of our time during the really hot hours of the day.
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Friday was our most challenging day because there were a lot of bands we wanted to see with not a lot of downtime to recover. Here is Ben Friday morning, ready with his super cool hat.SAM_2782

And me, trying to look cool while Ben does an impromptu photo shoot._MG_9076

Much more glamorous…_MG_9075

Here is a picture Ben took down our aisle (N. 145 St.) of the campground. As you can see, they really pack us in._MG_9083

Before heading out to the festival grounds, I decided to grill up some cheeseburgers. Another Ben shot._MG_9087

Finally, it was time to hit the festival grounds. They had a lot of cool new things this year including a big snail that moved at a snail’s pace through the grounds (pictures to come). Here is a picture I stole from the beautiful Nathalie of Ben and I (matching and looking smart in our hats).coachella

Here are my fellow camping buddies waiting for the first show of Coachella to start.SAM_2788

After the first show, we went and explored the festival grounds. I believe Ben is pointing to where the gun show will take place later that day. 😉IMG_1078

We found a place to buy big slices of watermelon. It was probably the best/most refreshing thing I had all weekend.

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Eventually we met up with Synthia, Jenn, and Brian too!SAM_2808

Friday was exhausting and hot, but we saw a lot of great bands and had a great first day. The following day, we went out in search of coffee (for Ben) and food. Here is another picture, stolen from Nathalie, that she took of Ben, Nathalie, and I hanging out in front of the food area Saturday morning.

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Luckily, Ben and I didn’t really have a band we wanted to see until much later on Saturday so we spent most of the time back at camp in the shade. It was a nice relaxing day after Friday’s craziness. When we finally made it out, we met up with Synthia and Jenn again for a little while.IMG_1111

We also got the chance to take a group shot with all the people in our camping group (plus Synthia). I stole this picture from Ellyn. 902642_10151635231193619_353633463_o

Here I am Saturday enjoying a show.SAM_2837

Here are Ben and I waiting for The Postal Service to come on.SAM_2841

And Brian blowing his cool horn he got at another show (Sorry, I couldn’t get rid of the red eye).SAM_2839

This is Brian, Jenn, and Synthia but you can only identify them by their glow necklaces and bracelets. IMG_1115

After another hot day, and another great night of performances Saturday came to a close. Sunday was another laid back day (when you take into account how many performances we wanted to see) and the weather STARTED out very nice. Ben and I took a quick camp shower and headed out to enjoy our last day. We started by taking a nice nap/rest out on the grass. It wasn’t too hot and there was a nice breeze blowing. SAM_2882

Here are the two of us.IMG_1150

Between shows we went to find the giant snail to take pictures with him. And here he is. Throughout the weekend, more and more art got added to his shell. Friday, he started out as a blank canvas and by Sunday he was looking like this.SAM_2885

Here is Ben with the snail.SAM_2890

And me.SAM_2887

Ben and I headed into the “beer garden” to check it out. It wasn’t anything special, unless you count an $11 tiny margarita as special. I think you can tell our opinion by by Ben’s face.IMG_1153

We met up with Synthia, Jenn, and Brian again. Here are Jenn and Synthia Sunday edition (thanks for spicing it up, Jenn).SAM_2893

Synthia and I (notice my cool fake-tattoo of Story I got on my arm).SAM_2896

After some good shows, the weather started to change and it got very chilly. In this last picture I have stolen from Nathalie, we used the excuse of a picture to cling to each other for body heat.coachella2

After one more show, the weather turned from bad to awful. A huge dust storm blew in, and we decided we wanted to miss the last act and go home instead. Here is a video Ben took of the drive home. The visibility was so awful, everyone had to turn on their hazards.

And finally, I compiled a little video of some of the photos and video clips of the bands we saw over the weekend.

Well! That’s it! We had a good time, but are happy to be clean and back home. Thanks to Nathalie and Ellyn for the pictures I stole. 🙂

Love,
Lauren

Quick March

Hello!

I have been putting off doing a new blog post mostly because I am lazy, but also because it felt a little intimidating with all the pictures I have taken this last month. The only reason I have finally convinced myself to do it is because we are leaving for Coachella next week, and I really don’t want to do a combination March/Coachella post. That would just be too much. Too much for me, and definitely too much for you. So I am going to move through the month rather quickly and only talk about some of the more significant ways Ben and I spent our time.

Most importantly… I got new Yoga pants!!! Woohoo! Haha! Okay, not significant, but I was pretty happy.IMG_0703

Moving on to something much more important and exciting that happened last month, Ben got an internship at Skateboarder Magazine! He is doing lots of photoshop stuff along with being a copy editor. He is loving it and kicking major butt over there. It was very exciting the other day when one of Ben’s photoshop jobs was put up on the website. Here is a picture I took of it. He did the “How to do a 900”. IMG_0831

Pretty exciting stuff! The next SUPER exciting thing that happened last month was my very good friend, Megan, who I have known since Kindergarten, got married. Ben and I got to take a nice little mini-vacation up north near San Jose for the weekend, which was a lot of fun. When we arrived at the hotel, we were given these cute little gift bags.IMG_0866

Ours was even personalized for me… mostly.IMG_0867

Here is a picture of the beautiful bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner.IMG_0877

After the rehearsal dinner, Ben and I were walking back to the hotel room when we found this spot. I, of course, had to take a picture.IMG_0874

The next day, we got ready and headed to the AMAZING wedding location. Here are Emily, Austen, Hillary, and Jake walking down to the ceremony location.IMG_0882

I took advantage of the beautiful surroundings and forced everyone to take pictures. Here are Ben and I.IMG_0887

And another picture with Hillary, Emily, and I. IMG_0928

Another one of Ben and I.IMG_0894

Ben and I looking not as elegant.IMG_0929

Finally, the beautiful bride.IMG_0900

Mark and Megan.IMG_0912

Hillary, Emily, and I doing our readings during the ceremony.

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The kiss.IMG_0927

And the bride and groom walking down the aisle.IMG_0921

It was a beautiful day, and we all had a really great time. The most surprising thing of the entire day was that Ben got up and danced with me! We had a lot of fun, and are very happy for Megan and Mark.

Once we got home, we settled back into our routine. We did get the opportunity to try out a restaurant that we have been dying to go to for quite a while. It is very near by and right on the beach. We spent most of the day there enjoying the view, drinks, and food. Here I am:IMG_0959

 

And here is a collage of Ben, his drink, and the view.IMG_0958

Last Saturday, we celebrated Easter by dying eggs. I made a Story egg.IMG_0963

We tried to get Story to take an Easter picture, but she did not seem interested…. or amused.IMG_0965

 

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I made it up to her by giving her a small shoebox for her to cram herself into.IMG_0858

 

Here is a picture of Story showing off with her favorite toy, the dirty birdy.IMG_0801

 

Last night, we caught Story watching TV way past her bedtime haha.IMG_0984

I will finish with a picture I stole from my friend Amy this morning of my friends Amber, Nathalie, and I taking a hike. Amber is moving to Maine on Saturday, so we did a nice farewell hike/breakfast. IMG_0986

The end! Now it’s time to pack and prepare ourselves for Coachella.

Love,
Lauren

Valentines and Sea Lions

Good morning, friends and family.

Today is February 21st which means, it is Story’s birthday! Hurray! Yes, she is an entire year old today. Here is a quick cute picture when she was still a baby.storybabyAaawwww!!! Our kitty is a big girl now and has the cattitude to prove it.

This month has been a good one so far. We started the month with a concert with my brothers, Cory and Ian. I bought tickets for us to go see Ben and my favorite pink floyd cover band. Ian had never been to a concert before, and I felt it was my sisterly duty to amend that. Here are the three of us at the concert.IMG_0336

And a picture of the band, Which Ones Pink? (I’m not sure the answer to that)IMG_0339

The following day after the concert was Super Bowl. Lucky for me, my brothers and my mom were all there (plus Cory’s girlfriend). We had a great time all spending time together. Plus, I got an excuse to cook some pretty tasty food. 🙂IMG_0341

Ben has been working pretty hard this month with school and with projects for Santanero, which just got a nice office in downtown Santa Ana. Here is Ben sitting in the office and a picture of him looking out of one of the windows.IMG_0328

I think its time for a Story break. She’s just too cute to go this long without a picture.IMG_0365

Ok! Now I feel better and can move on. Ben and I had a great Valentines day. We started out the day with some breakfast before Ben went off to class. I made these egg omelet/muffins and cut them in cute hearts. Then I made it Top Chef fancy by adding some Tapatio. Ben was pretty impressed.IMG_0440

Later that day, we opened each others Valentine’s Day gifts. Ben got me this beautiful Tiffany’s necklace. I was very surprised and felt very spoiled/lucky. IMG_0465

After gifts, we went out to dinner. We had a great time. The waiter was nice enough to offer to take a picture of us.

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Here I am with my flower and wearing my new necklace.IMG_0473

We had such a great time going out on Valentine’s Day, we decided to go out again. I had a gift card to Yard House that was burning a hole in my pocket, so we decided to head down to Shoreline Village and use it. This was the beautiful view from the restaurant.IMG_0478

While walking around, we found these awesome cutouts to take pictures with.

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I like Ben as the little kid pirate the best.

Last weekend, we had some pretty beautiful weather so we decided to sit out on our patio and enjoy it. IMG_0491

Story even got to come outside and hangout.IMG_0494

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We took lots of pictures and enjoyed our view.IMG_0502

This brings me to this week’s event. I was woken up one morning by a very strange noise. It was the barking of sea lions. Stumbling out of bed, I went and looked out the window and saw two sea lions enjoying a nice relaxing morning in the canal. Ben and I quickly grabbed our shoes, sweaters, and a camera and headed out onto the docks to get a better view. Here they are! IMG_0519

It was pretty amazing to sit and watch them hanging out right in front of where we live. Lots of our neighbors came out and watched them too. Here is a view of the entire canal. IMG_0516

They were amazing to watch.

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We caught a little bit on video. I like this clip because the “lounger” of the two is just hanging out and going with the flow of the water.

Ok, now for finishing with some cute pictures of the birthday girl. Here she is under the covers.IMG_0402

Story stole the precious! (She is wearing the Lord of the Rings ring from our board game)

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Apparently she doesn’t realize that she is not a tiny kitten anymore, because she tried to force herself into the top of the Lord of the Rings board game box.IMG_0428

A view from above.IMG_0426

And here is a little video of Story. This is something she ALWAYS does. Whenever we get a new cardboard box, we put it down for her to enjoy.

Yes, she is a strange one.

I hope the rest of the month goes wonderfully for everyone.

Love,
Lauren

Birthdays and Cranes

Happy 2013, friends and family!

I know, I know, it’s already a month into the new year, but I am extremely behind. Ben and I have been very busy this last month celebrating birthdays and (for Ben) starting school again. Since there is a good amount to cover, I am just going to jump in from where I left off. Back in 2012…

Let’s begin on Christmas Eve. Here are Ben and I  at my dad’s for dinner.IMG_0012

 

On Christmas day, we woke up early and headed back over to my dad’s to open presents. Afterwards, Ben and I came back home and had our own present opening time with Story. Apparently Story was a good girl because she got a lot of new toys to play with. That evening, Ben’s parents came over for Christmas dinner followed by Cory and his girlfriend. We had a beautiful sunset Christmas day.
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The day after Christmas, Cory and I drove out to Nevada to visit my mom and Ian. Here are Ian, Cory (who blinked) and I at this really awesome Chocolate Factory where they put up a million lights in their garden.

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Here is a picture of some of the lights.

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I had a great time visiting, but Story was very happy when I got home.IMG_0068

After Christmas, Ben and I went to visit my niece Gracie. Ben especially had a good time playing with Gracie and got three hugs when it was time to leave. Needless to say, I was a little jealous and demanded the same amount of hugs. I am her aunt for crying out loud!IMG_0075

That brings us to New Years Eve. Ben and I spent the evening with our good friends John and Nicole. Here is a picture of Nicole and I rocking the New Years Eve attire.IMG_0092

Here are Ben and I right after new years. You can tell we’re both a little tired. That’s what we get for being used to a 10pm bedtime.IMG_0096

 

That brings us to 2013! Woohoo! Well, one of the first things we did in the new year was go to the Santa Ana Art Walk to work the Santanero table. I was the live model for their t-shirt that night. IMG_0109

We’ve been going to Disneyland quite a bit since the beginning of the new year. Our first trip was with our friends Synthia, Nick, Charlene, and Brian. Here we are as the last people to ride Star Tours for the night.IMG_0159

A group shot of all of us.IMG_0161

Everyone said that I look like the crazy Ariel in a display case on Main Street, so they convinced me to take a picture next to her. I hope I don’t come off that crazy most of the time.IMG_0165

The first birthday we celebrated in January was my brother Cory’s. He turned 21, so Ben and I decided to take him and his girlfriend, Jordan, out for dinner and drinks. We thought Trader Sam’s was the perfect place to go. IMG_0168

The next birthday we had to celebrate was Ben’s. We went out to dinner with his family on his birthday and Ben got two of his favorite things, beer and ice cream haha.IMG_0194

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The weekend after Ben’s birthday, we spent a nice evening with our friends (mentioned above) plus Jenn (because she was FINALLY back from her Ireland excursion). We made dinner, sat around a fire, and played board games. It was a great night.
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Here is Ben with his Tiki inspired cupcakes as we sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

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Later that weekend, we went out to dinner with my dad and Jan to celebrate Ben’s birthday. Here we are with the creme brûlée in a classic Ben/Lauren pose.
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Because the weather was so beautiful, Ben, Synthia, Jenn, Brian, and I decided to have a beach day. Here we are all set up like pros. This was taken while it was pretty windy which is why they all look kind of cold haha.IMG_0216

Right before my birthday, my friends Hillary, Emily, Megan, and I went to Vegas to celebrate Megan’s upcoming wedding. It was a lot of fun spending the entire weekend with them (my oldest friends). Here are Megan and Emily by the flamingos.IMG_0229

Megan and Chewbacca. IMG_0237

Emily, Hillary and Megan in front of the Bellagio fountains.IMG_0238

The first night we decided to go to my favorite lounge/bar, the Chandelier.IMG_0249

On the last night, we decided to go all-out Bachelorette party style and bought pink wigs. Here are Hillary, Megan, and Emily on the tram looking oh-so-fabulous.IMG_0258

This brings me to my birthday. For my birthday, I went out to a very delicious dinner with my dad and Jan. Ben started school so he was unable to attend. But the following day, Ben, my dad, and I headed to Disneyland. The first ride we went on was Radiator Springs. IMG_0283

Here we are on Space Mountain.
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Here I am waiting in line at Haunted Mansion.IMG_0288

And finally, here I am after a long day at Carthay Circle. IMG_0290

A drink was very welcome after a fun but exhausting day.
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We had a blast and had an amazing dinner. Seriously, if you get a chance to go to Carthay Circle for dinner, do it. It is too delicious.

Ben and I have been working on quite a few at-home projects lately. Recently, we decided to spruce up our entry-way with paper cranes. IMG_0182

Story wasn’t much help. We had to make her her own crane so she wouldn’t destroy the ones that we made. Poor crane.IMG_0184

After lots of folding and 77+ cranes later, we had our entry-way. Sorry the picture is not so great. It is really hard to capture them all.IMG_0299

Now for everyone’s favorite part: adorable pictures of Story. Here she is “helping” us fold laundry.IMG_0179

And here she is dead asleep in Ben’s chair. IMG_0294

I hope everyone’s year is going well so far!

Love,
Lauren (and Ben)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Story

Hello, friends and family!

‘Twas the night BEFORE the night before Christmas and all thro’ the house, pretty much everyone was stirring, except probably a mouse (if it was stirring, Story would most likely have caught it by now. Also, if I was a mouse and I saw how ruthlessly Story treated her toy mice, I would probably have found another house to live in by now. But I digress…)

First, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Secondly, I am writing a post right now because I am avoiding making a pie for tomorrow because I am dreading making the gluten-free pie crust. So, to continue my procrastination until its most likely too late and I have to wake up early and make it tomorrow, I will be updating you guys on what Ben and I have been up to lately.

Let’s start off at Disneyland (where most of our posts either begin or end) and the Candlelight Processional. Ben and I had the opportunity to go to Disneyland for a special event. Apparently the Candlelight Processional is a Disney tradition dating back to when Walt was still around. Basically its a show with a choir made up of 600 people singing Christmas songs and a celebrity narrator telling the story of the first Christmas. We had Edward James Olmos as our celebrity narrator which was fantastic for me because I am a huge Battlestar Galactica fan. Here is the first picture of Ben and I waiting for the show to begin:SAM_2753

And next we have the choir!SAM_2761

Another picture of the choir. Sorry about the pole in the middle (I wasn’t too happy about that either).IMG_4117

If you are interested, here is a video of one of the songs the choir sang.

The Candlelight Processional was just the holiday spirit push we needed to finally get our Christmas tree. Story seemed interested._MG_8403

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Very interested…_MG_8425

She even decided to help us decorate, but then got too tired so she found a nice spot to take a rest.IMG_8433

In the Christmas box…IMG_8435

Here is Ben putting on the finishing touch

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And here is our tree now, all finished and beautiful!IMG_4196

This year we got to put Christmas lights up outside! I love it! You can see our tree peeking out the window too!_MG_8453

Ben and I were dreading taking our Christmas card photo this year. Mostly because we didn’t know how we were going to get Story to cooperate. We had long discussions focused on strategy, but in the end, they were unnecessary. Story, per usual, stole the show. _MG_8465

I don’t know how she does it! Luckily for Ben and I, Long Beach (at least where we live) is extremely festive. A couple times a night a huge double-decker bus covered in Christmas lights drives by filled with people celebrating the holidays. I don’t know what this bus is, where it comes from, or who these people are, but I enjoy the spectacle. We also have an annual boat parade that goes by right in front of us! On the night of the boat parade, we decided to invite a few friends over and enjoy it together. I had a great time watching the little boats covered in lights drive by with people yelling “Merry Christmas!” in greeting to us. Here are a few pictures from the evening. The first one is of Jenn and I sitting out on the dock.IMG_8479

Cory and Jordan.IMG_8483Brian, Synthia, and Nick.IMG_8485

And now, here are a couple of the boats.

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Story has been enjoying the Christmas tree probably the most out of the three of us. I had to clear a little place for her so she would not ruin the presents (although that hasn’t quite stopped her. I apologize if anyone gets a present with teeth marks all over it.)IMG_8530

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Well, I will leave it at that. Ben and I wish you all the best and are grateful for everyone who cares enough about us to read this blog.

Merry Christmas and happy new year!

Love,
Lauren, Ben, and Story

Camping, Food, and Story Guilt

Hello, family and friends.

We’ve had quite the month. Most of you know that I injured myself pretty badly. While making dinner, I accidentally spilled boiling water on my thighs and gave myself second degree burns. It’s been three weeks since I did this, and I am healing very nicely. A big thank you to my family and friends who helped me through the whole ordeal, especially Ben who took very good care of me. I will spare you all from pictures of that.

I’m going to start the post with some pictures from our camping trip we took with John and Nicole. We went out by Calico Ghost Town and camped in the canyon there with a bunch of people. It was a lot of fun, but VERY cold. Here I am on the drive out there.IMG_8246

After a nice drive, we finally made it into the canyon.IMG_8251

It was very windy as you can see.IMG_8254

The entire camping extravaganza was a lot of fun. Here are Nicole and I the next morning.IMG_8263

And here are Nicole and Bob.IMG_8261

Daniel and John. I think Daniel is giving two sarcastic thumbs up to his first camping experience.IMG_8264

After a long cold night, we required some food. We headed over to Peggy Sue’s famous diner.IMG_8269

It was extremely windy there. Here I am pushing my way through it. Funny, no one else seems to be having the same difficulty as me. IMG_8272

Inside, I couldn’t pass up the chance to boogie with the blues brothers.IMG_8276

Here is a cool picture Ben took in the Dino park. Zombie!IMG_8283

That leads us to Thanksgiving. Ben and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house. IMG_4018

I made some gluten-free stuffing which I have to say was pretty delicious.IMG_4017

I also got to spend some time with this adorable guy, Winston Oliver.IMG_4027

Checking out the turkey. IMG_4028

And the finished product when it came out.

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We had a great night and it was very nice for me to get out of the house.

Because Ben spent Thanksgiving with me, we thought it would be nice to host our own separate Thanksgiving for his family to attend. I made the meal entirely gluten-free (which was a small accomplishment for me) and we all had a great time. Here is a picture of part of the table. IMG_4042

Ben was awesome and woke up early and did all the dishes. Here is a picture of some of the mess he had to clean.IMG_8317

And the after.IMG_8322

And he did all of that without a dishwasher! My hero!

Story enjoyed Thanksgiving as well. She had a nice couple days of leftover turkey. I think she is trying to stretch out her belly in this picture.IMG_4083

Finally, this last week Ben and I went out to dinner with a group of friends to The Playground. It’s a super delicious restaurant in downtown Santa Ana. Lucky for us, our friend Jenn knew the sous chef and we were able to get lots of off-the-menu stuff. Also, we got catered to since two people in our group are vegans and I eat gluten-free. We got lots of extremely delicious vegan dishes, and a couple other not so vegan items. Ben is writing a review of the restaurant for the zine he works on, Santanero, so he took all the pictures. Here I am getting ready. I’ve been told this is my “sassy” look.IMG_8338

And here are Brian, Synthia, Jenn, and Nick checking out the menu. (Sorry the pictures are all kind of blurry. The lighting was not so good inside)._MG_8359

Jenn and the wine (two of my favorite things)._MG_8367

Me striking a pose for Ben._MG_8368

And a different kind of pose._MG_8369

Here is a deliciously beautiful veggie dish._MG_8385

We also ordered the pork chop. I don’t think I have ever seen one this big haha. It took a while for us to serve it up, mostly because we were confused by the size of it._MG_8386

Here is Nick holding up some delicious vegan dish.photo

We finished off the night (and a few bottles of wine) with a toast. We had a fantastic night.IMG_1547

I will finish the post how I always do. With some super cute pictures of Story. Here she is all cuddled up in her/Ben’s blanket.IMG_8289

And snuggling with me.IMG_8330

More snuggles.IMG_3977

And finally, a guilty little Story trying to convince us that she didn’t get into the sour cream.IMG_3991

Since its December, we will most likely have lots of Christmas pictures up next. If I don’t post until then, I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season. And thank you again to everyone who gave me lots of moral support after I injured myself. I am very lucky to have so many people who care about me.

Love, Lauren

Pumpkins and Story

Hello, Everyone!

It certainly has been a while since I have been on here. Things have been picking up for me in the subbing world and Ben has been very busy with his own projects. I figured I owed it to myself to get on here and post some pictures and show some of the fun things we have been doing.

We’ll go all the way back to the end of September (I know, its been a long time). Ben and I went to Las Vegas to see a Blink 182 concert. Here is Ben pumped up for our drive.

Before the concert, we hit up one of the coolest lounges in Vegas, The Chandelier. Its basically like you are in a multi-story chandelier. Very hip and pretty.

At The Chandelier, we got drinks and enjoyed the ambiance. 

And here I am enjoying that same ambiance.

The concert was great and fulfilled a childhood/pre-teen dream for Ben and me. The rest of the weekend was spent hanging around my mom’s, playing lots of ping pong. My mom and Ben are probably the best, so when they faced off, it was quite exciting.

That brings us to October and the fun Halloween themed things that ensued. I’ll start off the month with some Story pictures because I have already gone too long without including a picture of her. Here she is sleeping with Ben.

And another.

Here she is posing amongst the Buddhas.

And one more with Ben.

Okay, now that we have that done and everyone has had their Story fix, we can move on (don’t worry, there are more Story pictures to come). Ben and I were fortunate enough to have a very cool pumpkin patch right down the street from us. We decided to check it out and buy pumpkins to carve. Here is Ben, looking EXTREMELY excited about all the pumpkins.

And here I am.

We also decorated our place and made it SpOooooOooky!

Finally. Halloween came and it was time to put on a costume. Since Ben and I don’t really like dressing up, we decided to let Story be the one to represent our Halloween spirit. She surprisingly didn’t mind very much. Here is our favorite picture from our “photo shoot” with Story.

And here are some more. She doesn’t look too sure about the camera in this one.

Here she is performing a nice trick for the camera.

Another glamor shot.

I am not sure what this face is… I think it is “give me a treat!”

And finally, she had had enough.

After the photo shoot we carved up our pumpkins. Ben decided to do Kang from The Simpsons, and I did Rick from The Walking Dead. Together they created, “Rick, the Kang hunter.” 

We set them up outside and enjoyed a nice night out on the steps where we passed out candy and played with Story. 

Story and I on Halloween.

Ben and Story.

Story showing Cattitude. Probably because her costume is all messed up.

Here are the three of us (sorry about the bad quality and red eye). All the excitement got to Story as you can see.

Well! That is it! I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween.

Love, Lauren