Thanksgiving Festivities 2018

IMG_2082Just like Halloween, Derek and I weren’t home last year to celebrate Thanksgiving. So, like most holidays (especially the ones I used to take for granted) we celebrated all month long. I love thanksgiving and the month of November. It is such a great reminder of how much we have to be thankful for. I also love the excuse to spend time with loved ones, and of course, the excuse to stuff my face with yummy food all day.

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On Tuesday, Demi and Austin had frindsgiving at their house. We had so much fun spending time with them, seeing Auston and Kayden, and meeting all of their friends from Cedar. IMG_2084IMG_2047IMG_2076IMG_2075IMG_20451. I am thankful for friends who enjoy the holidays as much as we do.

IMG_2034We started Thanksgiving day with breakfast at grandma and grandpa’s. They had plans with their friends’ that afternoon and we were headed to Derek’s parents, so Ali and us went over early and started the day the right way- with family and A LOT of food. IMG_E20882. I am thankful for family members who are close in distance, and even closer in my heart. I’ll never take my close relationship with my grandparents for granted.

Mom moved away this last weekend, and Whit didn’t come to town this year, so we spent most of the holiday with Derek’s family. Grandpa Wade and Jake came to town, and it was the first big holiday in Michele and Randy’s new house. Like most days with The Durstelers, our day was filled with so much love and laughs, (and more food obviously!)  but we missed Axel since he had to work.

IMG_20673. I am thankful for in laws who double as best friends. I’ve almost had them in my life for a whole decade, and everyday I still wake up feeling lucky to share their last name.

IMG_2066After we ate dinner, Derek and I made our way to Dad’s where Josh and Ali spent Thanksgiving. We ate dessert with them and caught up with Dad, Jackie, Nikki, Sam, and some of their family members who were in town. By this time, we were exhausted and in a food coma, so we didn’t get a photo. Here’s a cute one from last week. 😉 IMG_20854. I am thankful for the holidays. To have an excuse to celebrate with loved ones, and catch up with the ones we don’t see often enough.

We went back to the Durstelers and ended the night playing board games. When we got home, we couldn’t help but get the Christmas stuff out and start decorating for our favorite time of the year.IMG_20395. I am thankful I married someone who gets just as excited about stockings and Christmas music as I do.

I fell asleep to the sound of Derek’s breathing, double puppy snuggles, and feeling so so grateful. Since Whit and the girls left the state for the holiday, we’ve been watching Benny all week. Harvey has had so much time spending time with his cousin, and Derek and I haven’t minded it at all. 😉

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6. I am thankful for my fur babies who fill such a huge place in my heart.

Today I woke up next to my boys, in a Christmas decorated home, feeling like the most blessed person in the world, and that is the exact reason I love Thanksgiving. My belly is still full, but my heart is even fuller. I’ll never take this life, or the little things that make it mine, for granted.IMG_E2089A few more things I am thankful for that I didn’t have this time last year (living in China)

  1. Good food! (especially potatoes)
  2. Our own home
  3. Puppy cuddles
  4. Our soft, BIG bed
  5. Time with friends and family

Onto the next adventure (the best time of the year!)

Wren

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Sunny days in San Francisco

IMG_E1499Maybe you know me in person, or maybe you feel like you know me because you’ve been following this blog for so long. But no matter how you know me, you know that traveling is the one thing that I thrive for. I usually try to leave town at least once every few weeks, even if it’s just for a couple days, or in the next town over.IMG_1678These last couple of months have been crazy busy for us. Between wedding season, school, work, and handling personal matters, we haven’t had any time to leave town. When Derek and I started getting into our rut, our routine, our busy schedules, I knew I needed to go somewhere and I needed to do it soon. Back in August, I looked at the next possible weekend for both of us to leave town and it wasn’t until the first weekend in November. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel! (okay that’s dramatic, but that’s how traveling feels to me. 😉 )IMG_1806I instantly thought of San Francisco. We had been to San Francisco once before, but we only had 24 hours in that beautiful city. It was over 2 years ago, but if you want to read about our interesting/ crazy adventure there, here is the link: https://thestellarstories.com/2016/08/08/less-than-24-hours-in-san-francisco/IMG_1803Our experience was so much different this time for so many different reasons. Since Kenzie and Joe had moved there in the time that we were there last, we had a comfortable place to stay. And spending time with them was the highlight of our trip! It was so fun visiting their favorite restaurants and seeing how happy they are with their temporary lives in that charming city. Since Joe is in the coast guard, they are only there for another year- and i am already thinking of planning another trip back.IMG_1656IMG_1788IMG_1789We arrived to to Alameda (where Kenzie and Joe live) on Thursday and started our weekend of eating like kings and queens with Italian. Derek and I remember the food being delicious from our first visit, and this time it did not disappoint! We ate way too good all weekend long. -and probably gained 20 pounds.

(I am drooling.)

IMG_1800This was also the first time in a VERY long time that Derek and I traveled together alone. We’ve traveled all year, but every time we’ve left town it has been with our friends or our families. It was so fun to spend quality time together outside of our regular routines.img_1807.jpgOn Friday, we spent 15 hours alone together. We rode the ferry into the city, walked through China town and got really nostalgic. The little part in our Chinese hearts absolutely loved listening to the language, smelling the food, and walking through all of the stores that became so dear to our hearts just a year ago.IMG_1804.JPG

We even found our favorite desserts from China! (Drooling again)

IMG_E1591We also rented bikes, and rode 8 miles across the bridge and down the coast to a little beach town called Sausalito. Biking across the golden gate has always been on my bucket list, and crossing things off that list with Derek by my side is my most favorite thing in the world.IMG_1596.JPGIMG_1595.JPGIMG_1794

IMG_1808.JPGWe ended the day by going to a fancy Mexican place in Sausilito for dinner and drinks. I think that day was one of my favorite days that Derek and I have ever had together. It was perfect.

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(I told you we gained 20 pounds!)

IMG_1793To make the day even better, the weather was AMAZING. Last time we went to San Francisco, it was in July and it was windy, foggy, and freezing. This time in November, the skies were completely clear and it was sunny and warm the whole time we were there. We definitely packed too warm, but I am not complaining. I mean look at that bridge!! IMG_1672IMG_1802On Saturday, we went back into the city. This time with Kenzie and Joe, since they didn’t have to work. We walked around the shops at Fisherman’s Wharf, vistied Ghiradelli Square, and ate lunch at a yummy cafe.IMG_1791 We also witnessed one of the prettiest sunsets I have ever seen. Between living in the desert, and visiting Hawaii, I have seen a lot of pretty sunsets, but I was so breath taken by this one. Maybe it’s because it was the last thing I expected in the city that is known for cloudy nights and foggy days. We were all amazed, so of course I had to capture it!IMG_1782IMG_1784IMG_1783IMG_1781We ate dinner at a burger joint, walked the streets and admired the architecture, and then ended the night with a scary movie at Kenzie and Joe’s. On a quick flight and a 2 hour drive, we made our way home the next day.IMG_1786IMG_1676IMG_1677

 

IMG_1679IMG_1785This sunny weekend away from home was such a nice little break. It was exactly what Derek and I needed, personally, and as a couple. I am constantly in awe of this world, but I am even more in awe that I get to see it with him.IMG_1799IMG_1738Video coming soon- once I find enough free time. 😉

 

Onto the next adventure, Wren

 

 

 

Spooktacular Celebrations

IMG_1358Last year on this day, I was sitting in our tiny apartment on the other side of the world, full of Chinese candy, exhausted from spending the holiday with all of our extremely sugar high students, and feeling grateful for where I was, but also wishing I was home celebrating with our friends and family.

IMG_1179IMG_1182This year,  I took advantage of everything I didn’t get the chance to do last year. First off was decorating our house. Filling our home with holiday decorations is one of my favorite things to do. And I was pretty happy with how it turned out this year. (Now onto Thanksgiving and Christmas! (The best 😉 )

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IMG_1470Next up was costumes. I decided that since we didn’t get the chance to go all out on our costumes last year, I would plan something extravagant and make up for it next (this) year. The second I watched the Grinch for the first time last Christmas season, I knew. To be honest, I had the idea for over 10 months, but didn’t put these outfits together until this time last week. (Procrastination at its finest) But man, was I proud. I mean, look at our Max!

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Out of all the costumes Derek and I have had, these ones were my favorite. It could be because we’re both Christmas lovers and prefer Christmas trees over haunted houses, but nonetheless, I loved them! They were so fun to put together. I think we might wear them for the rest of the year. 😉

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IMG_1464Since Derek and I both worked Halloween day and Derek worked Halloween night, we celebrated early.  Last Tuesday, we spent the night decorating Halloween cookies with our Dursteler clan. I love decorating things, but holy moly cookies are not EASY. I do not have the patience for those. Here is a pretty picture of Shara’s cookies since she didn’t make the family photo and her’s were good enough for both of us. 😉IMG_1472On Saturday, we attended the Boos and Brews Halloween event at my work with our friends Jess, Erik, and Ian. After decorating the space all week, and helping out with the finishing touches, it was fun to see it all come together.

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IMG_1475We had way too much fun and danced the night away.  Derek and I even won the couples’ costume contest! I promise It wasn’t rigged, since the attendees voted, but we were still surprised! We both never win ANYTHING.IMG_1468IMG_1469The best part about the whole night was that Derek’s parents were there the whole time, and their costumes were so great that we didn’t even recognize them until they were standing next to us in the contest! It was such a funny moment when we realized it was them. It will go down as one of my favorite Halloween memories and stories to tell. ( I am still sad we didn’t get a picture!) IMG_1467On Monday, we had a few friends over to carve pumpkins. Since we didn’t get to carve pumpkins last year, it was one of the top things on my October to do list. Even though I didn’t accomplish everything on my list, It was the perfect ending to our Halloween celebrations.IMG_1466IMG_1461IMG_1463

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like I mentioned before Derek worked 12 hours today and I worked 6, so nothing too exciting happened here, even though today was the actual holiday. I spent the afternoon cuddling Harvey (another thing I took advantage of this year). Jess and I ended up going to dinner and having game night at Ian and Erik’s. It didn’t feel like a holiday, but we still had a great night with good friends.IMG_1460The older I get, the more I realize that it’s not the actual celebrations or the things you do to celebrate a holiday, but the people you do them with that make the memories great ones.

I hope all of your spooky seasons were fun-filled, full of love, and spooktacular!

Onto the next adventure, Wren