no one was ever blinded by looking at the brighter side of things...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

my last first year...

Tomorrow is the "start" of the 2009-2010 school year! As a teacher my year, when I talk about it, is from August to August. As many people know I am starting my 4th job in as many years...and am thrilled that it is my last first year for a while :) I am lucky enough to now have a continueing contract...which in the teaching world, is GREAT! No more 1 year contracts/not knowing where I"ll be/job hunting!!!

While actual school does not start until September 2nd, tomorrow is move in day and the rest of the week will be about new teaching orientation and getting my classroom set up. I am going to be the K-2 Resource Teacher at Baller Elementary School in the Camas School District! I am VERY excited about it! I'm going to take lots of pictures in the next few days as I set up my classroom in my brand new school :-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

do you VooDoo...

Even though I grew up in Vancouver I really never ventured into Downtown Portland much. Maybe a few times a year for shopping or something, but that was about it.
Jason is very intrigued by Portland...though I think it has something to do with all the Breweries! Which is okay with me. We've made it a goal to get into Portland at least once a month to try somewhere new to eat/drink/play!

This week past weekend we ventured down to Portland's Saturday Market which was fun to walk around and will be even more fun to go back and spend some money someday when we have it! After that we were going to go to VooDoo Doughnut (the one from Man vs. Food) but the line was out the door, and around the corner...too long we thought! Especially since we knew we were coming back during the week.

Jason & I in front of VooDoo One!

So on Tuesday mid-afternoon we ventured down to Portland to get copies of our marriage license. We decided that since we were down there...we might as well head into downtown to VooDoo and it was well worth it! Getting there about 12noon we only had to wait about 20 minutes, and that was mainly because of one (crazy) woman! Yes, 12noon...the "perk" of one of us being a school teacher on summer vacation and one of us seeking employment (which...good news on that front...more later)!
Jason wanted to try a Bacon Maple Bar...but they were out so he settled for a gigantic apple fritter. I stuck with a plain Maple Bar, though next time promise to branch out a bit more!

All in all it was a fun place to go and we can't wait to try out the next place...whatever that may be!

and now there are 17...

This is my "Cole" Family. My Mom's side. And now there are 17 members!! They all made it to the wedding, not that I expected any less. 8 of them flew in from Minnesota and 4 of them flew in from Phoenix. My cousin Rachel was a bridesmaid and Tony was a groomsman. The Rode clan took lead organizing and getting people where they needed to go once they got to the venue...and for that I am forever greatful. Everyone seemed to have a great time and many of them turned it into an extended vacation either traveling out early, staying late, or both for that matter!

Jason is the first new member since 1992 - which was when my cousin Caroline (far left) was born. Actually, that might not be 100% correct...hum, I'll have to do some invesigating. I don't know when my Aunt Elaine married my Uncle Foster.

Either way, I am their first grandchild to get married. There are 6 grandchildren in all...and the pressure is on, thanks to Rachel's toast at the wedding, to add another generation to the family ;-)

I can't wait until next summer...when we will hopefully have our every-other-year family vacation. Up until the wedding Jason hadn't met 5 of the family members and so I am excited for them to get to know him better, and visa versa. They are such a fun group that I am proud to be part of, and it's been fun to see how over the years we've changed, started awesome (silly)traditions, and had a ton of fun doing it!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

keep holding on... the Kleenex!

Now that we have all of our wonderful wedding picture's is wedding story time! And do we have a few hysterical ones!

Just before walking down the isle with my Dad he was saying some very sweet things and definitely started the tears going! I definitely had some tears streaming down my face...they were happy tears, but they were there! Thankfully I had waterproof mascara on :)

As we were standing at the front of the isle my Mom asked me if I needed a Kleenex to which the obvious reply was yes. Well, thankfully she had stuffed a few into her sleeve of her jacket :) She was prepared and resourceful (she didn't have a purse).

Just shedding some happy tears right at the beginning of the ceremony!

Now, I did have some voice cracking and some tears during our vows but by the time it got to the rings part of it...I think I had gotten over it. But...I still had the Kleenex! I stood up there that whole time (well, all 9 minutes of it) trying not to drop the Kleenex. I kept thinking over and over and over again...DON'T DROP THE KLEENEX! Though that would have been funny in hind sight..

Notice how my right hand is curled up...holding Kleenex. Then, I had to do a switch-a-roo because now I needed my right hand to put Jason's ring on!
If you look closely at my left hand in the picture you can totally see the white Kleenex!

It was pretty funny. Jason thankfully had taken note during the ceremony at some point about the Kleenex so he knew it was there...just at the time...we could not communicate about how to get it out of my hand into his pocket without it being a distraction to the ceremony!

All in all the ceremony went smoothly. It was more "religious" than we wanted/asked for BUT in the end, we are married and that is what really matters!

We had one person turning their cell phone off (good) at the start of the ceremony (bad). They also happened to be sitting right up front directly in front of me, so they definitely got a mini death glare.

I also broke my tapper after we were done lighting in the unity candle, I jammed it back into the candle stick holder too hard...whoops! Really, I was trying to make sure it wouldn't tip over and catch anything on fire, and itstead I broke it! Broken is definietly better than fire, if I had to choose one! Good thing I didn't break the big one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

showered with showers...

Jason and I both come from relatively large families. I also have a spectaular group of family friends...who really, are more like family in so many ways! Because of this we were fortunate enough to have 4, yes four, wedding shower's thrown in our honor! They spanned the course of 3 months and were each wonderful in their own way! A big THANK YOU must go out to the fabuous hostesses and all who helped organize/throw/bake/etc for these special days!!

My first shower was the first weekend in April in my parents home state of Minnesota. It was a nice trip and I saw many of my cousins that I had not seen in 5 years. Tracy had so many fun games (some of which I borrowed for showers that I had to throw for my friends this year) and she put so much time and effort into making it a great day! My Maid-of-Honor, Leena, even made it from Chicago for the weekend which was great!!!

Some of the "Cole Family" ladies!

My maid-of-honor and best friend, Leena

The second shower I had was thrown by Jason's family and hosted by his Aunt Vickie. Adrienne was in charge of the game and did a wonderful job! I also have borrowed/stored for later some of the games that she came up with!

Playing a fun game!

Yummy cake!

The third shower was thrown by Jenelle Hutnik, a woman who I taught preschool next to for that school year. Even though there was a possibility I'd be moving...they still wanted to throw me a shower which just shows how kind of people they are! My Mom even made it up for the event :)

My Seven Oaks Staff + Mom!!!

My fourth, and final, shower was amazing! I am so lucky to have such great family friends. Besides my Mom and my cousin, and bridesmaid, was all friends who attended this shower. Thanks to Liz for hosting at her house, as well as Julie and Kathy for helping get everything together. My amazing bridesmaids came up with some even more fun games for me to borrow!!

All of my beautiful guests! Thanks everyone!!!

4 of the 6 best friends anyone could ask for!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

snorkeling and sting rays...

Obviously going to Jamaica we spent a lot of time around and in the water. Jason probably could have spent the whole entire week snorkeling. Me, I did it two days in a row for at least 20 minutes each and only screamed once during each trip! Which for me, that is a record! I am a 'the ocean floor/fish/anything must by at least 20 feet down' kind of snorkeler, Jason is exactly the opposite.

The first snorkeling trip was just a 5 minute boat ride off of the resort property. They had some snazzy old school life jackets that I volunteered to wear around my waist. I am also a floater snorkeler. This was my first time jumping into the ocean not sliding I said, it was a major accomplishment.

I did pretty good until...

We saw a string ray!!! In the picture that is fuzzy you can barely make out his left "wing" coming out of the rock and his tail. Click on the picture to make it bigger and look! It was crazy! Too bad it swam right over a rock as Jason was taking the picture...
The other picture was taken by the resort under water camera man.

I let out a shriek (which probably wasn't such a good idea...) and stared in horror. I was so stunned that I could not do anything except for make sure the boat was still floating near by. Within a few seconds it was gone, swimming away to scare the guacamole out of someone else.

The old Annie would have jetted for the boat. The new "I don't want to ruin this for Jason" Annie DID NOT! That is right, I stayed in the water. I even took off the life jacket and tried a little (1 minute) snorkel trip sans a floatation device. I must say, I am proud of myself!

the honeymoon...

Jason and I enjoyed our first vacation together, not with or visiting family, on our honeymoon. This in and of itself was a treat! We went to the Montego Bay Sandals Resort in Jamaica. Unfortunately, I would not recommend that resort to anyone...thought while the resort was less than ideal, the trip and the memories were amazing! I'll be focusing much more on those than the resort in these post and in my attitude towards it all.

We left 24 hours after the wedding and took a red-eye flight which got us into Jamaica about 12:45pm on Sunday. This might not have been the brightest idea. After getting there and struggling to get our luggage to change into shorts and trying to find something to eat, it was obviously time for a nap. After the nap came, the breakdown. Probably not the most romantic thing the first afternoon of the honeymoon, but it obviously needed to happen. I think it was a mix of coming down off of all the wedding hoopla and being upset about the resort. Needless to say we got through that, had dinner, and let the honeymoon begin!

Dinner on the first night...

We did two really fun excursions while on the honeymoon. The first one was Tuesday when we went and climbed the famous Dunns River Falls. It was about a 90 minute drive from our resort and we had the BEST driver. He didn't pass, he didn't speed, he didn't swear! He was like no Jamaican driver I've ever seen! During the climb we switched camera's with another couple for the duration so we have a lot of great pictures of our adventure! You can see more honeymoon pictures on our Picasa site (link at top of page)!

The second excursion we did was a Catamaran Boat ride to a protected reef for snorkeling and then to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for a drink!

All in all it was a wonderful vacation filled with everything from laughter to crying to Annie snorkeling more than twice on a vacation (a feat in and of itself)!!! More to come on some of the other activities we enjoyed - lounging on the beach, reading, and yes - snorkeling!

Monday, August 10, 2009

house update...

Just a quick post...we got the news today that everything went very well with the appraisal on the house! We are paying under what it is worth :-) Which really is not a huge surprise considering "the economy"...but never-the-less, nice to hear. There are 3 major things that we already knew about (well 2 we knew about instantly, 1 we found out with the inspection) that will need to be fixed. The front door handle and 2 broken windows - well, one of the two pane's in each of the two windows are broken. And the roof is the third.

The black part (that looks like it should drain) should be connected to the gutter...not ending on the top of the roof...

So everything is as "on track" as it can be as far as buying a house is concerned. Our real estate agent and MetLife agent are 99.99% sure we'll be out of our town house by the end of the month!!! We'll be giving our 20 day notice tomorrow to our town house people...WOW!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

trying to be conscious...

Living on a teacher's salary for the time being is causing us to rethink going out to dinner to say the least! Looking back these things are really things we should have/could have been doing all along. Right after we got back from the honeymoon we went "big" grocery shopping to Costco and Wal*Mart getting enough food and whatnot to hopefully last us close to a month. All in all we spent $200 or so...I really should go back and look it up and keep track of how long it all lasted us.

We've been planning out our meals this whole week and it has actually been fun! We were in such a routine before with what we ate and thinking about what to eat really made us realize this. Plus, we are both home for this whole month for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Jason has always been a great cook and is always trying out his ideas...with about a 95% success rate on the Annie Scale.

I read about a "trick" somewhere at some time about freezing sauces that you make in ice cube trays for later use...the thought being that you could just make them, freeze them, then drop them in the pan when you needed to use them. This got me thinking about what else I could do with this and this is what I came up with...freezing cookies!

First I made a double batch of our favorite cookie recipe...Weight Watcher's version of chocolate chip cookies but seriously, SO much better! Then I scooped them out with our awesome cookie scooper's we got from the wedding! Then I froze them in the pan in the left picture, so they weren't touching each other. Next, put them in a Ziploc container and stick 'em in the freezer! So now, for example, in preparation of our trip to Seattle tomorrow I'm going to take 6 balls of cookie dough out tonight so that we can have a sweet snack on the trip without stopping and buying candy bars! Plus, an added bonus, not a whole gaggle of cookies lying around our counter tops waiting to be eaten. It takes a conscious effort now...which saves money and calories :)
We're just really trying to be conscious of money and the waste that we produce...and hoping that some of these lessons we learn during these "tougher times" will stick with us through the years to come!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Well our (almost) house passed its inspection today with almost flying colors. There was one major-ish thing that they did find...something in the roof was done wrong when it was built 7 years ago and there is a bit of rot, about 3 ft X 3 ft section that will need to be replaced but the shingles are still first I was bummed but really, it isn't horrible. It might just be our first family do-it-yourself project :) Or not... And at least it isn't the whole roof! Everything else that was "found" we already knew about.

Here are a few pictures I took I said...the carpets are the first things that are going to be cleaned, followed closely with the walls!

The front of the house...

The kitchen...awesome cupboard space :-) Pull out shelves in the bottom cupboards.

We're guessing the previous owners had a little boy...the border is a little road...this will take a few coats to cover!

That's it for now in regards to the house. Other than that we are just getting used to married life, which isn't really that different than "living together and dating life" except for it is fun to call each other husband and wife!

House Stats for those who've been asking...

3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 car garage, fenced back yard with a dog kennel (much to Jason's joy), 1440 SQ FT. Perfect started home for us!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

the story of our (almost) house...

Within a few days of moving to Vancouver we started looking for houses. We looked at 7 in one day, and not one of them was "it". The first 7 we saw proved this too us so we decided to put the looking on hold until after the wedding and keeping our fingers crossed that Jason would have a job.

Then one week before the wedding Jason was "looking" online and found it...our house. It is perfect for us in almost every way! We looked at it the next day (Saturday), put an offer in on Monday morning and got the call on Wednesday night telling us they accepted our offer, while we were on the way to my parents for a wedding celebration which turned into a housing celebration! Since the wedding was 2 days away and I needed to sign some papers...we did the only logical thing...had the realtor come to the nail salon on Thursday morning!!! Yep, I signed the final agreement and addendums to our first house the day before the wedding while getting a pedicure! Life is great!

Now in some fairness, the realtor is a family friend so she actually stayed around a while and talked to my Mom! But none-the-less, that is awesome customer service!

We have our inspection tomorrow morning :-) And hopefully after that we'll be able to settle on a closing date. We have to give notice to our apartment by the 11th of this month if we don't want to double up on rent/mortgage payment...which we don't! I am going to take plenty of pictures tomorrow so I'll get one up soon! The first things on the agenda with the house is cleaning the carpets and washing all the walls and painting some...there is this hideous purple in the family room...which does not fit in with our Cougar style :-)

And now, in hind sight, it is a lucky thing we are getting this house. We know we can afford it on just my salary...thought we'll be living on a little love ;-) So in a few years down the road...if we are lucky enough to have children (and Jason a good job)...this house will not only fit us, we'll be able to still afford it if I do decide to take some time off...