Thursday, September 29, 2011

How to share the big news!

As you may have already heard,  Jeff and I are having a baby!
The baby will be due in March 2012.

Long before I saw the double pink line on the pregnancy test, I always knew that I wanted to share the wonderful news to Jeff in a special way.

What method is "special", and is also very characteristic of me?
I know!
I will tell Jeff  the great news in the form of a special meal!
I decided to make a meal using food that has the word "baby" in it, and try and have Jeff guess the message I am trying to tell him.

I made a meal consisting of:
  • Baby back ribs
  • Baby bella mushrooms
  • Salad with: baby spinach, baby heirloom tomatoes, and baby corn
  • Baby carrots
  • Babybel cheese
(I went to 3 stores looking for "baby potatoes" but I couldn't find any!!  The week after I made the special meal, I saw them at the store.  grrr).

Check out the spread!
It came out so pretty, and tasted pretty good too! 
(although I was slightly nauseous during my 1st trimester, so after eating this meal, I was unable to even look or think about baby back ribs for the rest of the duration of my 1st trimester).

Right before we dug into the meal, I told Jeff that I made this meal for a special occassion.  And that all the items in the meal have something in common.  Can he guess what it is?
After he thought for a bit, he correctly guessed that everything had the word "baby" in it, and it was the baby corn that gave it away.

I said "great!  now... can you guess the reason why I made this meal?"
Jeff was like "uhhh.. ummm..  errrr..  because we want to have a baby?"
I said "uh, yes.. that's true. but there is something more than that. 
Jeff couldn't guess it, so I finally blurted it out: "We're having a baby!".
Jeff: "Let's not get ahead of ourselves now..."
Jen: "No really, I'm pregnant!"
Jeff: "Really?  How do you know???".
Jen: " -_-# "

Fun story, right?  =)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Introducing Pleco!

Our turtle's tank has been super covered in algae and we decided that it's time to get a plecostomus  (we have had a plecostomus in the past, and a Chinese algae eater in the past, but after both died, we never got around to getting a new algae eater).

We went to this aquarium shop in Culver City, and it was awesome!  so many plecostomus' to choose from!
7 dollars poorer, we brought home our new little guy.

Pleco seems pretty laid back. Shortly after introducing him into the tank, a turtle came up to Pleco and stuck his beak right into Pleco's eye ball.  Pleco did not react or wince at all!
Pleco seems to be more shy than our previous plecostomus, who frequently sucked on the turtles' faces and latched onto the turtles' shells.  I hope Pleco warms up to the turtles soon.  But maybe after that eye incident, it's not happening.

Here is our plecostomus!  Chillin' out

Uh Oh. 
Looks like Bulbasaur got jealous and wants to be in the picture.

Here is Bulbasaur hogging the camera, but you can see Pleco in the background.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Caribbean Cruise & Miami

For our 2nd wedding anniversary and Jeff's 31st birthday, we did a 7 day cruise around the Eastern Caribbean, and spent 1.5 days in Miami (South Beach).

The Caribbean is absolutely lovely.
The ocean is so clear, and the water is so pleasantly warm.  It is also very very warm, humid, and sunny.
We were actually lucky because just 1 week prior, there was a hurricane (hurricane Irene) that terrorized the entire Atlantic coast, but our cruise was unaffected by the hurricane.

Sadly, the cruise ship itself did not live up to my standards. 
(My standards were based on my prior cruise on Royal Caribbean.  We booked the Carnival cruise ship this time).
Food service was terrible (the staff barely spoke any English, and do not appear to be trained in waiting tables).  The food also tasted and looked terrible. 
The housekeeping did not do the best job either (we are provided beach towels that we cannot take home; if we do, we will be charged for the beach towels.  Housekeeping removed the beach towels from our room, almost risking us getting charged!  Luckily, I noticed the missing towels before we were billed or accused of stealing).
I also was sea sick the entire week because the dang boat was swaying so much.  I did not get sea sick on my last cruise!
Also, the ship simply did not have as many amenities as Royal Caribbean, but that was not a big deal to me.

After our 7 day cruise was over (dry land! woohoo!), we stayed in South Beach, Miami for 1.5 days.  The water in Miami is WAY warmer than the waters in the Caribbean, but the water was very dark, dirty, and murky in comparison.
The neighborhood of South Beach was lovely.  I loved that I was able to get anywhere either on foot, or by taking the local shuttle for 25 cents.
The best part of South Beach is that everyone is super toned (the rumors are true!).  Almost every girl I saw had a 6-pack.  I felt so inadequate.

Our flight back to Los Angeles was on the evening of September 11.  We did not realize at the time that we booked the airfare, that we were flying back on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.
Oh well.  I figured that since our flight was at night, if there were any terrorist attacks, they would be during the daytime, so I was safe.
You should be happy to know I flew back safely.  =)

The following are the photos from all our destinations!  Enjoy:

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - September 4, 2011
Half Moon Cay is a small island in the Bahamas that is entirely owned by Carnival, so all the visitors on the islands were all Carnival patrons.  All the food and drinks served on the island were all imported from the Carnival cruise ships.

I think this island was my favorite port on the entire cruise.  The waters were super clear, and the sand is so fine (almost like baby powder).  Unfortunately, Jeff and I got terribly sun burned.

Half Moon Cay

From Half Moon Cay - Bahamas

From Half Moon Cay - Bahamas

From Half Moon Cay - Bahamas

We also did a shore excursion, where we snorkeled with STING rays, and got to feed them.  They are super cute!  Sadly, hurricane Irene blew away 5 of 9 sting rays.
From Half Moon Cay - Bahamas

From Half Moon Cay - Bahamas

Sting ray.  So cute!

From Half Moon Cay - Bahamas

To view the complete Half Moon Cay photos, go here:

St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands - September 6, 2011
The next port we visited was the island of St. Thomas, which is one of the islands in the U.S Virgin Islands.
I thought it was amazing that this island is so small and so secluded, yet, it felt like I never left the states when I set foot on this island.  Everyone spoke fluent English (with no accent!)  (this is unlike Puerto Rico), people drive cars on this tiny island, the U.S Dollar is accepted, and there were regular shops, diners, and bars.

We also did a shore excursion on St. Thomas, to the beach called "Magens Bay".  This was on the opposite side of the island from the port, so we had to take a bus there.
I loved that the beach was very small and quiet.  I actually was reminded of Hawaii when I was at Magens Bay. 

View of Magens Bay
From St Thomas - USVI
Magens Bay
From St Thomas - USVI

From St Thomas - USVI

Wild iguanas roam free in St Thomas
From St Thomas - USVI

Port of St Thomas
From St Thomas - USVI
San Juan, Puerto Rico - September 7, 2001
We did not visit any beaches in Puerto Rico.  The only thing walking distance from the port was the town of Old San Juan.  I am proud of myself that I walked through the entire town despite the unbearable heat and humidity.  I did it by frequently stopping into stores for shade and a/c.
It was great to see familiar shops in Puerto Rico like CVS, Walgreens, Payless Shoe Source and Starbucks.  It was like I never left home!

Old Town San Juan

From San Juan - Puerto Rico

From San Juan - Puerto Rico

From San Juan - Puerto Rico

Colon Plaza

From San Juan - Puerto Rico

Castillo de San Cristóbal
From San Juan - Puerto Rico

See the entire album here:

Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos Islands - September 8, 2011
The Grand Turk island is a very tiny island, surrounded by crystal clear waters, and lots of rocks under the water!  We were able to walk from the ship to the beach, so that was nice.  I hate having to take a tender or a bus.  Sadly, we brought our snorkel, but there was nothing worth seeing in the water, except for rocks and sand.

Breathtaking View
From Grand Turk Island - Turks and Caicos Islands

From Grand Turk Island - Turks and Caicos Islands

I couldn't find the conch.
Missing conch = hurricane!

From Grand Turk Island - Turks and Caicos Islands

Crystal clear
From Grand Turk Island - Turks and Caicos Islands

See the full album here:

South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida - September 10-11, 2011

Lincoln Park
- the premier shopping area in South Beach. 
From South Beach - Miami, Florida

From South Beach - Miami, Florida

The moon over the ocean during dusk
From South Beach - Miami, Florida

The view of Fisher Park from South Point Park
From South Beach - Miami, Florida

View of the Miami skyline from South Point Park
From South Beach - Miami, Florida

Coconut trees

From South Beach - Miami, Florida

Friday, September 2, 2011

Yellowstone National Park

Before we head out on our next trip, I wanted to quickly write about my trip to Yellowstone National Park 2 weekends ago.

The intent of the trip was to visit my friend Lucy in Idaho and hang out with her family, but at the same time, visit Yellowstone since it's a 1.5 hour drive from her house.

After I learned that Mt Rushmore was *not* at Yellowstone, I had no idea what there was to see there.
Apparently, geysers, paint pots and hot springs are there, including the "famous" Old Faithful.

Here is a little explanation of "paint pots" since you will see several pics below:
A mudpot, mud pool or paint pot is a sort of hot spring or fumarole consisting of a pool of usually bubbling mud. The mud is generally of white to greyish color, but is sometimes stained with reddish or pink spots from iron compounds. When the slurry is particularly colorful, the feature is then called a paint pot.
Mudpots form in high-temperature geothermal areas where water is in short supply. The little water that is available rises to the surface at a spot where the soil is rich in volcanic ash, clay and other fine particulates. The thickness of the mud usually changes along with seasonal changes in the water table.
The mud takes the form of a viscous, often bubbling, slurry.

There are 2 parts of Yellowstone: West Yellowstone and East Yellowstone.
To see the landscape/sight-seeing part of Yellowstone to see Old Faithful and the hot springs, that is on the West Yellowstone side.  This is what we did since we came from Idaho.
If you care about camping, fishing, and water sports, then that is on East Yellowstone side.

When we went, the weather was warm (mid 80s) and the view was lovely.  I even got a tan.
It was a pretty nice day trip.  We were able to see all we wanted to see in half a day and make back home in the afternoon.

Below are a few samples of the pictures I took.  Please check out the entire web album (link below).

Buffalo!  Up close!
From Yellowstone, WY

Yay, its us in front of a hot spring 
From Yellowstone, WY

Lucy and Janie at Beryl Spring
From Yellowstone, WY

Janie Loves Her Giraffe!  Giraffe came to Yellowstone with us.
From Yellowstone, WY

Gibbon Falls
From Yellowstone, WY

The view of Artists Paintpots
From Yellowstone, WY

Bubbling mudpot at the Artist Paintpot
From Yellowstone, WY

Very blue hot spring, at Artist Paintpots
From Yellowstone, WY

Lucifer at Lower Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pot
From Yellowstone, WY

Firehole River at Midway Geyser Basin
From Yellowstone, WY

Colorful hot spring at Midway Geyser Basin
From Yellowstone, WY

The famous Grand Prismatic Spring.
The largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world.
From Yellowstone, WY

The Grand Prismatic Spring is soooo beautiful.
The vivid colors in the spring are the result of pigmented bacteria in the microbial mats that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water
From Yellowstone, WY

Sapphire Pool (but its hot!) at Biscuit Basin
The deep blue color of the water in the center of the pool results from the intrinsic blue color of water, itself the result of water's selective absorption of red wavelengths of visible light.
From Yellowstone, WY

Another colorful hot spring at Biscuit Basin
From Yellowstone, WY

Old Faithful!  It's very predictable
From Yellowstone, WY