Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Holiday

When I was first divorced, the thought of spending Christmas by ourselves (Mal, Nick & Me) in Phoenix was absolutely a bummer, so we made every possible effort to get back 'home'. But, as time went on and I took on increased resposibility at my company, it became a bit harder and harder to always get back to Philly. So, this is how and when a lot of our Christmas traditions were started here at home - Phoenix.

This year - for lots of reasons - we are headed back to celebrate the holidays, and meet my new nephew in Jan, so put our 'Phoenix Christmas Plan' into action. We introduced Craig to the things we like to do as well. Thank goodness he agrees that one of our coolest traditions is a road trip North to find the snow. This year, we trekked to Flagstaff on Christmas Eve to find at least 3-5 ft of snow! It was beautiful white powder that reminded both of us of home! The kids loved it and Craig and Nick had a blast pelting each other with snowballs. We walked around the downtown area, had some hot cocoa and then decided to hit the famous 89A just as the sun was setting. Lots of you know that road as the best way to get to Sedona. It was cool to see all the trees and red rocks in Oak Creek Canyon with snow on them. In Sedona we had dinner at a great restaurant, sitting right next to the fireplace and after seeing the annual Festival of Lights at Los Abrigados, we headed home.

This trip always reminds us that Arizona is truly a beautiful state. Where else can you live 5 hrs from one of the World Wonders, 4 hours to snow, 3hrs to stunning redrocks and sunset and back to 60deg weather in one day. It's truly the best of many worlds. We'll be back up to Flagstaff pretty soon to hit the slopes! You can see all of our photos here. (Santa brought me a new really cool camera that I'm still learning to use. I'll get it eventually, but that could be why some of the photos are blurry or whatever. Better ones will come with time...)

post signature

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nick, The Golfer

Ah finally, the post regarding Nick's golf outings. He's been in two tournaments since the last post and has done fairly well, playing his game - no real mis-hits, just a bit of putting nerves. We found out that there are 3 other 9 year olds who have been in these tournaments for awhile now. They usually score well enough to take the top 3, alternating the winner for each tournament and usually seperated only by a stroke each.

It will be our goal to help Nick break into the top 3 somehow next year. He can do it, he just needs to stabalize that putter. All of this will come with more time and experience. We're really proud of him, he's shown himself to be a great sportsman, introducing himself and shaking hands with competitors at each event. That's what it's really all about and he seems to have a great time out there. And I say, keep the plaid shorts coming Nick. Gotta spice it up out there somehow.

.post signature

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Annual Christmas Party!

Last Saturday night was Shana & Carlos' Annual Christmas party. Everything was wonderful, Shana went all out with the yummy warm appetizers and the homemade desserts were fabulous! This is a fun party for me for lots of reasons. Seeing special friends as much as possible around the holidays is not always easy and we get to do that (!)and equally important, it's a very thoughtful party because Shana and Carlos ask all of their guests to bring a toy for kids who wouldn't otherwise get anything for Christmas. I'm sure they brought smiles to many this year.

We always have a fabulously loud(ish) time! We played Partini, the game I've been hearing about from others. It was fun, there was even a certain time where you model clay and try to have your teammate guess what you've made. My modeling skills leave a bit to be desired perhaps, they got Gumby, but not my Kermit the Frog? If I had more time, Kermit would have been better. The boys usually manage to sneak into the living room, rearrange the furniture and begin the intense poker game. Craig looks very serious, almost smug, as he plays his hand, doesn't he? ~ Checking things to his right and his left.. very serious stuff!

post signature

Monday, December 8, 2008

Long and Busy Weekend..

Even though Craig lobbed me a softball with the post he made below, we'll start posting everything in chronological order from the weekend. We really had a lot of things going on this weekend - all of us - so lots of juggling. Many photos! It started on Friday night, I had tickets to a really incredible show that's put on in the Valley every year, proceeds go to a charity called Christmas Wish. Jill and I attended Phooson, where no less than 5 acts were performing. It's not normally a concert I would attend - I'd wish to go - but in the end would decide that the place was sure to be swarming with shouting teens and not go. But, the tickets were free, and they were in what we found out was the 5th row?! Pretty Sweet!~ Who wouldn't check that out?

The lineup started with a band that I now know to be Secondhand Serenade. I think I did know one of their songs. Jill was convinced that the guitar player looked like someone she knew, that's the only reason we paid attention to them.

I can't even remember the second group that's how memorable they were? Is that harsh?- but I really can't remember. Gosh, am I so old I can't remember the band names? - It's possible I had no business being there. The third band was Tokio Hotel. They are blowing up apparently, but they were kind of strange. The lead singer wants to be an honorary member of KISS I think, but his guitar player could be just average Joe. He had a white face and all black duds, and moved like a cat. It was strange. And no one could determine if it was a dude or a chic. See video clip. Their song is on the radio all the time and is actually catchy.

Katy Perry was next up and she was crazy cute. She wore a Christmas tree skirt dress and described herself as looking ridiculous. I love that she also made her band dress as Elves with white suits and hats with the Elf ears. Loved it! Very cute I thought, but I'm sort of corney like that? I saw her on the Today show this morning where they announced that she's been nominated for a Grammy. Really? ok.

One of our favorite acts was the Pussycat Dolls. They have songs that you find yourself humming, but you'd never admit it! The whole concert was full of acts like that. They were great, full of energy and delightful on stage. Did I say delightful? Ugh, so square.

We waited what seemed like forever to see Fall Out Boy, but they were worth the wait. I didn't realize that Pete Wentz is not actually the lead singer. Some dude in yellow pants is. So, why then is Pete the popular one? He's certainly the crazy one. At the end of the set, he jumped into the crowd beside us and fans went crazy!!

Finally, finally Rhianna came on around 11:45. What was she doing back there? Why so long to wait? She was actually the one I went to see. I just dig her songs. Upbeat. Who hasn't found themselves singing "um-brella, ella, ella, eh, eh..." She was cool, but by then I was kind of tired of it. So, there you have it. Crazy concert lineup.

Thanks to Craig for sort of postponing his Vegas departure to Sat morning at 6am so that I could attend. It was pretty cool all in all,I wish I'd had more than one extra ticket! I took so many videos of everyone, really close up, it was amazing, but they're in the wrong format I guess cause Blogger won't upload them. Boo!

post signature

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nick's Golf Tournament

Nick is in his first golf tournament tomorrow at Western Skies Golf Course in Gilbert. He's excited for his 11:58 tee time:

Name Rnd 1 Date Rnd 1 Time Rnd 1 Starting Hole

Gresco, J. J. 12/06/2008 11:50 1

Mayer, Cade 12/06/2008 11:50 1

Velarde, Gabriel 12/06/2008 11:50 1

Schulz, Chase 12/06/2008 11:58 1

Johnston, Nicholas 12/06/2008 11:58 1

I think Chase Schulz is in trouble...Good luck Nick!

post signature

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving & Weekend

Last Thursday we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at our friends, Shel and Mike's house. This is the second year we've been invited to celebrate with them and Craig and I are so happy for the invitation. Mallory and Nicholas are with their dad and paternal grandparents every year, so we would be Turkey orphans otherwise I guess. We are truly blessed to have Shel & Mike as wonderful friends.

Friday, we left the house a little later in the afternoon to start some shopping. It was not as crowded as we expected, which was probably for the best. Craig was able to last a little longer at the mall and we got everything on our list for that day. Plenty more gifts to buy, but we got started. And we're done shopping for the kids - that's a huge accomplishment.

We also started decorating the house for Christmas. Craig and I picked out our first tree together and I was happy to break out some of the ornaments I bought last year after the holiday. The tree we chose smells lovely - a nice addition to the house. And, the most important ornament is now on the tree. This will be our first Christmas without B-Dizzle - She loved opening her presents, it will be a little sad without her this year.

post signature

Alexander David

So, the last post was maybe a little confusing. I posted early in the evening that baby had not come and then got the call that he had arrived and updated. Not a lot of details available at the time, but everything's all good now. Here's the first photo of my nephew, Alexander David. I think he looks very wise in this photo! ..and he seriously looks like his mama.

I am dying to see more photos of him and see how he's changed even in the last 2 weeks. I wait anxiously for Papa or Gamma to upload photos from the camera to their desktop and then email them to me.
:o) It would be great if they started a blog?! - yea, let's hope for that!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekly Update & Baby Watch - UPDATE: My nephew is here!

Not much going on around here, no photos really to post. The kids continue to do well in school, I'm getting used to my new car even though it's a lot bigger, and we are currently on Baby Watch. Yesterday my sister's due date came and went with no progress. There's been actually no movement whatsoever, so it seems baby is pretty comfortable right where he's at- she's at - I'm dying to know!! Of course, Steph is beyond ready for baby to come also, the sooner the better! But she is more patient than I remember being when I was pregnant, so she deserves a lot of credit for that!

UPDATE: baby BOY! Nunemacher came tonight around 6:10 via c-section. He doesn't have a name yet, but the list is short and they'll see what he seems like. He weighed in 9lbs 12ozs!! Big boy! - he was never going to come down on his own, huh?

I wish I could be there to see him! - one of the drawbacks to living in Az with family in Philly.

post signature

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Photo Op

Last Sunday, we had our favorite photographer Kym Ventola take some photos of the kids in the hopes of getting a good one for our Christmas card this year. We think they all turned out really great, and the kids loved working with her. It's not easy to win over a 12 and a 9 year old, but Kym did it! She's such a special, creative person; Craig and I were thinking that it would be fun to see the world through her eyes.

post signature

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby Congrats!

We want to congratulate Bridget and her husband Russ, and Big Brother Logan on his new baby brother. Bridget is a friend from the old job; we were cube neighbors before she took a position in Quality and eventually moved downstairs to be with the Ops folks. We would work and chat. Good times.

Anyway, congrats to them on the birth of Dominic Tadeusz. Dominic was born on last week at 4:18am and weighed in at 6 lb, 10 oz. Even though it seems he was 3 1/2 weeks early, we are so happy to hear that he and Mom are doing well! God bless the Ernst family and their newest addition!

post signature

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weekend Fun

So, here's the weekend update. Friday night was pretty chill, we took the kids out to dinner and then came back to the house to watch a movie. I was supposed to take Mallory and a friend to see the new HSM3 movie, but all of the showings were sold out or way too late! So, I owe her that for another time.

Saturday night, we helped Mike celebrate his birthday at the somewhat annual now Halloween party. We also took Rob and Carmen with us. It was a lot of fun! We showed up too late to get in on the group photos, but everyone went all out this year again and looked great! We'll have more Halloween photos of the kids after Friday, but here we are as Pilot and Private Flight Captain. And featuring, Rob & Carmen as Romeo and Juliet (she's an English teacher, makes sense, right?) Thank you to our awesome hosts, the Punk Rocker and the Devil, Satan-ish, winged guy?

Saturday night when we got back to the house, we found a very sick Nicholas. Poor little guy! Mallory got her first real test as a babysitter! I went from the car in the garage so quickly to tend to Nick that I forgot to turn my lights off. I didn't notice it until Sunday a.m. around 10, and just turned them off figuring the battery would rejuvenate itself. Oops, apparently the car has to be running to charge the battery back up. Lesson learned, Thanks Mike for coming to bail me out!!

UPDATE: This post looked kind of incomplete, so I'll add the kids halloween photos to it. Mallory has announced that next year she won't be trick or treating but handing out candy. I really doubt Nick will want to go by himself, so could it be that my trick-or-treat days are over? I wish they had gone out with a better bang! We really didn't see a lot of people out this year, and no one hardly came to the house either. We started the night refusing to give teenagers with technically no costume on treats, but by the end of the night, we just wanted to give away the candy, so the brave ones who came back ended up getting a handful. Oh well. I am hoping for a Halloween resurgence next year. I have such fond memories of trick or treating as a kid, I'd hate for it to fade out...

In updating this post, I can't find the photos that were on here. I must've stolen them from someone else's photo gallery originally...

Monday, October 27, 2008

JoePa Rocks!

There's almost nothing more annoying to a Nittany Lion, than a Buckeye! But after this weekend, they are a non-issue! In the most exciting, gripping game of our season yet, the Lions pulled out a win over the Ohio State Buckeyes, bringing our record to 9-0. It's been a great season, and there's nothing better than seeing JoePa have another successful year! yea, yea, maybe he'll get the hint and go out on top, whatever.. none of that matters at this moment!

Go Blue! See you in Miami?

post signature

Monday, October 20, 2008

Smart Kids!

A post about the kids, the real reason most of you even read this blog!~ Congrats to Mallory and Nicholas who received outstanding report cards for this first quarter of the school year! Mallory has continued her streak of A's through Jr. High, proving that the transition maybe wasn't as bad as she thought it would be. And Nicholas completed this first quarter at his new school, with A's & B's, landing himself on the Honor Roll for the first time! (4th grade is the start of letter grades, thus Honor Roll.)

We are extremely proud of both of our smart little critters and wish them continued success for the remainder of the year!

post signature

Weekend Update

We've posted so sporatically lately that I find myself combining weekend reports! We spent this weekend officially celebrating Craig's bar passage with dinner and a night out dancing with friends. For a change, we thought we'd try the newest, trendiest restaurant in Scottsdale and I'm not sure it paid off for us? The atmosphere at Roka Akor was very cool upon first entry, but constantly waiting for your family style dinner elements allows you to examine further and I couldn't get past the place smelling like a band-aid? We waited almost 45mins for each course to come out, and when it did, the quality was questionable.

Anyway, we shook that off and headed out to Devil's North for dancing and fun. We had a great time there, of course it was packed, but still plenty of room on the dance floor. Everyone enjoyed the beats. Even Craig's usually shy friend BW, brought his A game and it paid off! Thanks to all those guys who came out to celebrate Craig's success.

It's really rare that I get out to dance twice in one month, but it happened! Last weekend was GNO and we were living it up at Devil's South. That's where we usually hang out in Old Town. I can now attest to the fact that both locations are 'shutting it down' every weekend! Here's a fun photo from GNO, Shelsea, Jill & me. I had the camera this weekend too, but for some reason did not capture any of the fun?

post signature

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Last Friday, we received the good news that Craig passed the Arizona Bar Examination! He is completely thrilled and relieved! The results were to be published on the website at 4:45 and he called me while I was still at the office to let me know he was stuck in traffic at 4:40. So... I couldn't wait. I hung up with him and immediately searched on-line for the results. My heart was pounding as I scrolled through the list of names to get to the R's.

Seeing his name on the list, and telling him he passed the test was one of the most thrilling, exciting moments we've shared together so far. I almost didn't know whether to shout out with glee, or just collapse to the floor and cry for a bit, knowing that this phase was finally complete!

Congratulations to my husband, on your wonderful accomplishment! You will go on to be a successful attorney in any specialty you desire. While I joke with him that his post below resembles a Grammy acceptance speech, it's clearly written with the most genuinely excited emotion of someone who's just realized a dream and for that I admire and adore him! You are extraordinary, counselor.

post signature

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Passed!

Well, this will be a brief update but I found out at 5pm today that I officially passed the Arizona Bar Exam. So, with my Character and Fitness passage last week, I am officially a counselor in AZ.

Thanks to everyone that has been there for me through this process and especially Vic, Mal, Nick, Steph and Robert (and the LSAT cat), my parents, my aunt, and all my family and friends that supported me through this. You know who you are and I greatly appreciate it. And I will return the favor.

I cannot stress enough how much all of you have meant to me getting to where I'm at today. Great news and I hope you all celebrate with me!

post signature

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Baby Shower + Man Uggs?

Last Friday I flew to Pennsylvania to help my family with a co-ed baby party for my sister and brother-in-law. I loved seeing them and her belly with growing baby inside; obviously baby has grown tremendously since month 3 when I saw her at the wedding! She's looks fabulous. I was so excited to share in this event and we had a wonderful turnout of more than 30 people. It was totally worth 10 hrs of plane time! :O) I would do it again in a heart beat! Steph and my dad love the Phillies (and now our AZ family does too, since I brought home all kinds of Phillies and Penn State gear!) and so he made sure baby had it's first Phillie Phanatic outfit! Very cute. Baby will also need a giant stuffed Phanatic, just like the other grandkids have, Papa.

Things would not be normal if Craig did not offer his two cents on the things I purchased for baby! As decoration, we hung some items on the clothesline, and for this Mallory and I picked out the cutest little furry boots for baby. Of course, Craig saw them and immediately described them as Man Uggs. I don't think they look like Man Uggs but even if they do, they are sooo cute! If she has a boy he can still wear these little boots around town. It will be November, he/she needs a nice pair of warm shoes, right? Oh well,they can just put them on him and take his photo to share with Aunt Vic! And, if its a girl, then she has a gorgeous pair of furry boots. I'll keep her fashionable?

I'm so happy Steph's going to have a baby and I get a niece or nephew to spoil! She's got a lot on her plate right now with the baby and some other things, so I want to tell her just to take things as they come. All will work out for the best and enjoy this time! We love you so much and we'll see you (and baby) in January!

post signature

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Eyes Semi-Open?

I have lots of cool photos of the baby shower we had for my sister in PA over the weekend (what a whirlwind of flying time that was in 3 days) but I still need to download the photos from the camera. I will do that.

Right now, I just wanted to make mention of the fact that I have not gone to bed from yesterday. Yup, stayed up all night working on a project schedule for a 3:30 meeting today and never got to go to bed. This causes all kinds of issues; however, somehow I've managed to get myself to work. In order to stay awake and alert until my meeting, I have purchased what I consider the essential items: 2 Diet Dr. Peppers, 2 sugar free RockStar drinks, 1 bx of Nerds candy. I have no idea why I bought the sugar-free RockStar, isn't that directly counterintuitive to the concept of the drink? On my way to work, I was trying to remember other times in the past where I've not slept in 24 hours or other such long periods of time. This is what I came up with:
  • August 9th, 1996 when Mallory was born. I was in labor for 31 hours and didn't sleep for any of that time even though I had the epidural. I was certainly running on adrenaline. Not so much today.

  • May 18, 1999 when Nicholas was born. Labor = 33 hrs. Again, lots of adrenaline, not so much today.

  • July 13, 2006 at Syntax-Brillian, my last job. We had a new guy come in to take over our projects and he kept us in meetings for 9hrs a day and then demanded we work on the collateral for the meetings overnight I guess. No adrenaline, lots of bitterness.

I'm thinking the meeting will go over the hour we've alloted. It's with Brisbane and they are just getting into the office, so not really as motivated as we are to leave the office. They could talk all day! I will do my best to cut my presentation as short as I possibly can, after all I sent it to the team in advance right? They should have reviewed it in preparation for our meeting, yes? Short presentation, no questions, that's my strategy. Doesn't that sound like our President's philosophy at press conferences? hahha... Tired Girl's got jokes!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a Democrat nor a Republican. I just think Bush is sort of funny sometimes.

post signature

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last Weekend

Last weekend was a special weekend. A bunch of family and friends got together to take Shelsea out for her birthday. It was a fun time. I was even able to score the company car for a DD ride there and back. That may not seem like a big deal I guess, but the restaurant is about 40 mins away in Phoenix. (VIP - that's how we roll) The white Lincoln Towncar went all the way to south Gilbert first to pick up the birthday girl, stopped by our place and we headed off to Bacchanal's Greek restaurant. We've been going there for Shels' birthday for a number of years now. We have tried a couple new places along the way, but eventually we come back to Bacchanal's. Its always fun and this year did not disappoint. I can't say I've ever had the food there actually. We've always just gotten lots of appetizers and that always seems like enough. They've added a couple cool things to freshen up the entertainment. For one, the belly dancer that was there, the owner's wife, finally retired. Whew! - This is good news as she was getting well... it's a good thing. Trust me. They also added a trio of girls who do the traditional greek dance. And of course, the owner always leads us all in the plate breaking and line dance around the restaurant and out to the parking lot. It's always fun there.

Happy Birthday to Shelsea, one of my favorite people! We hope the night was special for you! Her and her husband Mike are great friends, we love them dearly! :o) More photos from that night.

Another interesting side note about Bacchanal's is that it was the location and occasion of a first date for us. 5 years ago, I took Craig as my date to Shel's birthday event. He sat close to the dance floor which made him an obvious target for the belly dancer. She drug him out to the floor where apparently he performed a very unique interpretive dance. For me. However, I was in the restroom and didn't get to see it. I'm told its for the best, if I had seen it, we might not have had a second date! He won't do it again for me, he says he's retired and sits at the opposite end of the dance floor!

post signature

Monday, September 22, 2008

Charlotte, NC

As you know, last weekend we hopped on a plane and headed East to North Carolina to visit Susan & Geoff Brown, per previous random Memphis post. Perhaps the best summary of our trip is actually on the Gibson's blog - Great job Laura! - but we also wanted to post some of our favorite photos from the weekend. We had lovely weather for the entire time, so I think the Riebe weather curse could be lifting. Maybe this comes with the May addition of a new, sunnier Riebe :o)

Anyway, we had a great time, thanks so much to our hosts who thought of everything. The first day we toured several wineries in the area. We tasted such a lovely Riesling at the second winery; I loved it so much we had some shipped back to Arizona. It has arrived, but UPS has custody of it now, since you need a signature to have it delivered. Wine gets better when it sits in a 200deg warehouse somewhere doesn't it, I think I heard that somewhere.

Day 2 was fun on the Brown's boat! Craig and I really missed just being out on a boat these last couple of years, so it was great to get out on a lake again and their boat is fabulous. To the right is Matt Gibson doing his 'shark'. Just as the sun was setting, we pulled into the dock to find all of Susan's friends there waiting to celebrate her 30th birthday. Geoff did an amazing job planning this special event for her, and she was totally surprised!

One of the many cool things about our trip was the Bears-Panthers game we went to on Sunday. Thanks (again) to Geoff, we had amazing seats! I've never been to a professional football game before, it was so cool to actually be there for it. Very different than watching it on TV, that's for sure - the game seems to go by so quickly when you're there? On TV, and when Craig's watching the games all day long, they seem to never end?

Thanks again to Susan & Geoff for having us at their lovely home. We had a wonderful time, and their puppy, Jasper is adorable! It was also so great to see the Gibsons, and the Hunts too. Good spending time with everyone... when Craig and I finally buy a home, you are all welcome for a visit. Maybe sometime in the winter months! You can see all of our photos from the weekend here.

post signature