Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Minnesotan Christmas

Our Christmas Vacation began very early in the morning at the Washington Dulles airport. Where we waited.

Waiting at the airport

And waited.

Early morning airport

And took pictures of our shoes.


(Which then made me instantly regret only bringing mesh tennis shoes and not some cute boots or something. Which then made me realize that I don't own cute boots. Which then made me want to buy some. Which then made me realize it was 6:45 AM and I was at the airport and dreadfully incapable of purchasing cute boots at that moment.)

After more waiting and thinking at the airport, we finally arrived and were greeted by this:


And this:


And maybe a little of this:


And strangely enough, none of the fine citizens of the State of Minnesota seemed to mind the torrential snow pouring out of the sky. I saw this guy walking by later that day:


Notice that he has no hat, no gloves, and doesn't seem the least bit concerned. Those Minnesotans are fierce.

Once we got settled in, we drove over to see Jenny, Josh, and Jay. Jay has gotten taller and cuter since we last saw him.

Jay and Steven

I think Steven enjoyed playing with Jay, and maybe, just maybe, we might be one step closer to convincing him that we might be able to handle a kid of our own. :) Maybe.

Smiling with Jay

Cuteness abounded. Jay likes to throw a tennis ball across the room, and then proclaim that "I faaaaast!"


Back at the Steele house, there was much coffee drinking.


There was much teasing about making the wireless internet work... ("Are you sure you know the password, Dad?" "YES, I have a photographic memory!")


We couldn't visit MN without indulging in a French Silk Pie.


We relaxed and watched a few episodes of Boston Legal. The theme song jingle is really memorable. (Having said that, I can't remember how it goes now... rats.)

Watching TV

The Twins Bulb was hung by the chimney with care...

Twins Bulb hopes that the Twins would refrain from trading Santana for just one more year.

Pizzas were made,


cakes were baked,



Yellow Cake

cookies were mixed, sandwiched, and devoured.

Homemade Oreos

We had a lucky break on the way back -- we got bumped to first class and enjoyed a delightful Reuben sandwich as our in-flight meal. I officially love first class -- It's so luxurious!

We got back to Virginia and it was 45 degrees (ooh, warm!) and raining. I miss the snow but I was very glad to see sunshine and grass again. I'd almost forgotten what green looked like.


All in all, it was a fabulous trip, and I'm so glad we went. Merry Christmas to you all.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Office Visit!

It's finally Saturday, after what seemed like the longest and hardest work week ever. I had two court appearances on two different days in two different courts, and Steven worked 14 hour days the whole week. We were totally exhausted this morning and slept in nice and late. And then I got up and fretted about how dirty the house is (like I always do). I'm so so so not ready for Christmas -- everything is a mess and my presents aren't wrapped and my clothes aren't packed and I just need a second to breathe and recover from this past week.

In order to circumvent the bout of all-out-crazy that I was about to have, Steven decided we'd take a little adventurous jaunt down to see his new office. I said I'd go on two conditions: (1) he had to drive, and (2) I wanted to take lots of pictures. (Starbucks was a third condition, but by the time we left, I'd already had more coffee than any human should reasonably ingest.)


Wishes granted, yo. :)

So I got to experience Steven's commute - and its actually a really nice little drive. Its back in the woods a little, and then the building just appears out of nowhere. We parked and took the elevator to the second floor, and this is what we saw...


The office is incredible. You open the door and its like walking into one of the actual restaurants, except its the reception area! The tiling is really well done and the whole place looks really professional.

"Ooh look, Mom, here's my office!" (Its actually very cool -- just wait and see!)


My dear executive hubby, sitting at his desk at work on the Saturday before Christmas. Whew. What a hard worker!


"Excuse me, Mr. Steele, do you have a minute?"

"Why no, I'm terribly sorry, young lady, but I've got to take this call..."


"Why hellooo Johnson! How is my stock portfolio looking?"


"Good, good. Sell when the market's high, that's what I always say..."

After all of this hard work, Mr. Steele is awfully thirsty, so he stops by the kitchen, and what's that we see?


Fountain drinks for everyone? All the time? Whoa buddy!


After his pit stop in the kitchen, Mr. Steele has a very important conference to attend.


As usual, he is quite punctual. He has arrived in the conference room days before everyone else is scheduled to be there. Mr. Steele likes to be a little early to these events.

All in all, the office was fantastic. Its huge, its really nice and new, and its super professional. I'm so proud of my executive!


But alas, it was time to go -- we were getting very hungry after looking at all that Five Guys paraphernalia...


But first, a little gas to fill up the car. As we were getting gas, lunch, etc., we pondered just how extremely unprepared we are for the Minnesota cold next week. (Notice that Steven is not wearing a hat or gloves -- its about 50 degrees here -- chilly but comfortable).

Gas Man

I wasn't even wearing socks. (and wow, these pink shoes are showing their age...)

pink shoes well worn

We ate at Quiznos and got a cookie to go. I may or may not have sneaked a bite before wrapping the cookie back up to take this picture... :)

plastic wrapped cookie

And next door to the Quiznos was the cutest little doggie bakery called "Fetch!" They had adorable hand-knit sweaters for dogs and homemade treats. We didn't want to risk upsetting the delicate constitutions of our dear pups (as that would not have been pleasant for our puppysitters...) so we just bought a couple "Thanks for puppysitting" cards instead.

Fetch! The Bakery!

In order to remedy the no-socks situation, I started the second blue Fleece Artist sock, using the yarn Steven bought for me in Richmond at the swearing-in ceremony in October.

yarn cake

I am making slow progress. An inch of ribbed cuff will not keep me warm in the 12 degrees of a Rochester, MN Christmas. Better get moving on these.

second sock

They are taking longer than normal. I think this may be because I've been so busy with work and shopping for Christmas and traveling that I haven't really had time to work on them. Or perhaps its because the yarn is fingering weight and I'm making them on size ones.

Skinny yarn

Yeah, that could be it.

I diligently knitted away on them as Esteban drove us home with the help of his faithful nav system (which is exceedinly difficult to photograph in a moving car. Be impressed, people!), and we listened to some random radio station playing old blues music.

nav system

The whole outing was quite relaxing, actually. Maybe I am ready for Christmas, after all...


Monday, December 17, 2007

Pizza and a Car Wash


There are some things that just make life a little happier. Dishwashers, washing machines, cell phones, other random technological devices, sure -- they help make life easier. But there are some things that just make you smile for no real reason. Simple things, usually.


You don't really even realize how much those little things contribute to your happiness until you bite into a warm, crusty piece of homemade pizza. The kind with the extra-stretchy cheese. And rich tomato sauce. Piping hot.


Or maybe when you take your car for a car wash when its 29 degrees outside, and you slip on the ice from the car-wash-water whilst trying to pay for your car wash:

Fiddling with the car wash payment system

And then the little signs shout their neon-bright commands at you. [Wait!]


[Go! Now!]

And then you sit there, heat blazing in the car while you're wrapped up in every scarf you own, watching the water and suds slide down the window.

The Cockpit

And maybe you smile for a picture.

Yay, no more dirty car!

Or stare questioningly into the camera.

Or just be the fabulously cheesy couple that you are. Suds, pizza, and all.
Car Wash!