Monday, April 22, 2013

New Job and a what better way to celebrate!

I started a new job a couple weeks ago. I am finally in the field I have wanted to work in since I graduated 2 years ago! I work for a study abroad office in Phoenix :) It is a very prominent international institution sending thousands of student abroad all over the world each year. And the big perk is the office is only 15 minutes away from my house! I cannot tell you how much of a life change this is... an improvement I should say :)

I work as an admissions counselor for the study abroad program, helping people choose and enroll in the program of their choice. Whether they wish to study Italian in Rome or Art History in Paris or International Business in Barcelona, I help them dream of a life abroad! So much fun!

Granted it is my first week, but I know I will really like it!

I ended up with a few days off between switching jobs and so how else would I celebrate a new job? ... um... DISNEYLAND!

Ready to go in the park!

A glorious site :)

It truly is springtime!! gorgeous garden roses on Main Street!

Favorite tree in the whole park!

DREAM COME TRUE!! Actually not to finally sit on one of the porches along Main Street and people watch! Love this spot :)

Aaron was not pleased with how wet he got on Splash Mountain! First time on the ride and he was right in the front... poor guy :( Luckily the weather was warm, so he eventually got dry again

New Princess Fantasy Fair area :) A little Tangled in the park now!

Redwood trail! 

It will probably be a little while before we are able to make it back to our favorite place, so I am glad we got those two days in the warmth and sunshine to enjoy the park!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

OMG! I am caught up!!!

This is it people!! I am caught up on my blog posting!! I don't know about you, but I am proud of myself! I haven't been this dedicated to blog posting since my time in London 4 years ago! And then it was mainly for my mom... ha! This is for me...

As I embark upon this new adventure of marriage it is all too apparent to my how much I need to document my life and the first few years of marriage for my husband and I and for my kids. I love looking through old pictures of my mom and dad when they were newly married. As one of their kids it is hard for me to imagine what life was like before my brothers and I came along, so it is like looking at completely different people... I would hate to deny my kids the opportunity to view Aaron and I that way.

Granted they will probably not scroll through my blog, so this brings me to the next reason for my blogging... to more easily translate into photo albums! I am wanting to get back into photo album printing and so this is like creating a photo album! I will eventually take the pictures and these blog posts (OK, maybe not this one) and simply copy and paste my memories in to printable albums. It is what I did for England and I am ready to do it for this new season of life :)

So to truly bring you up to speed on life with in the Mertz family since our Australian friends left...

- we got home and settled back into life just the two of us

- I quickly realized I had raging insomnia... after trying many different things, I finally started taking Melatonin every night before bed and it has helped a lot

- We have truly started our post wedding hermit lifestyle! While most people go from a wedding to a honeymoon and then a good couple of months of doing absolutely nothing and just getting use to living with each other... not us. We got married, had a little honeymoon and then went into full holiday mode! We didn't even have time to move me in until 2 months later and that was quickly followed by house guests... so when Phoebe and Liam went home, it was the first time that Aaron and I had nothing on our plate!

- Granted it took some getting use to for me to not schedule every night of the week with some activity - from Worship practice and family dinners with both the Thompsons and the Mertz' and a lot of evening drinks and dinners to catch up with friends I hadn't seen since before the wedding. So Aaron and I had to learn to not commit to more than 2 things a week in the evenings... it has been so great for us.

- We have the best of friends!!! We have so many amazing people in our lives that we get to share this journey of marriage with. Friends who have gone before us and have been married for decades, other friends who have only been married a few years but have immense wisdom and perspective. We also have awesome single friends who pour into our hearts better than most. We are blessed people!

- With nothing on our plate, we have enjoyed dreaming of future plans (way several month into the future plans though)... we have several more Disneyland trips in mind before our annual passes expire in November. We have been 3 times since we started dating a year and a half ago and we have already booked our 4th trip... at the rate we are going we are hoping for at least 2, maybe 3 more trips before November! We also have plans for a trip to the east coast to visit Washington DC and New York! I have never been to DC and Aaron lived there for 6 months in college... Aaron has never been to New York and I was there 5 years ago, but it was on a tour with a high school group as a chaperone and so it was not a true New York experience. 

- Also along with our new hermit lifestyle we had started truly observing and learning how the other person lives... for example, I am messy, Aaron is clean, I like alone time, I don't like cooking or folding laundry, I have lots of home decorating projects in my head, we have a hard time committing to watching only one TV show at a time... we are currently part of the way through as many as 5 different TV shows and we need to learn to finish a series before we start another. ha!

- Communication, communication, communication... Aaron and I are learning a lot about communication. We communicate differently in a lot of ways and at different timetables. This has been very interesting and fun for us to learn... there have been tears and moments of silence... it will be a journey we will be on for the rest of our marriage, so we are learning to do it better each day.

- I have also learned that being married... even on the hard days... is still more rewarding and fun and exciting than when I was single... I wouldn't trade one second for the world!

In future posts I will probably elaborate on some of these wonderful moments and lessons in marriage.

Since you may remember my hatred of blog posts with no pictures, here are some images from the last few months of marriage...

Moving Day!! It was quite a process to settle my stuff into the house... it continues to be a process :) I am enjoying it however and love being able to sit and organize in complete focus for a while. Aaron was surprised at how organized I am and commented that our linen closet looks like a magazine! ha
 Fruits of home decorating and organization! The orange chair has won and will stay in the living room :) Aaron did not always love the chair, but after it sat in our living room for a couple months and everyone who walked into our house loved it, he has finally come around and appreciates its beauty!

Aaron and I eat out a lot! We keep telling ourselves that this won't always be this way, so we want to take advantage of the double income and enjoy the fun culinary experiences Phoenix has to offer.
Fuego Bistro in Phoenix!
Now that we are hermits, we have taken to watching a lot of movies and TV shows on Netflix! Our back room has become a movie room of sorts and we cuddle up on Aaron's old couch with blankets and low lights and it is like we are in a movie theater.
This is what love looks like... haha
In my pursuit of domesticity, I have realized my hatred for folding laundry... true hatred.
This was our Valentine's Day feast! We decided instead of spending a ton of money at Postino's, we would create our own cheese and meat board. We sat out on our back patio and brank wine and Apple Brandy (his gift from me) and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I don't know how exactly it happened, but I ended up reading to Aaron from some of my high school journals about my unrequited love for him. We laughed so hard we cried! It was awesome!
As the weather gets more beautiful in Phoenix, Aaron and I took advantage and rode our bikes from our house to downtown Phoenix (about 15 minutes) and had lunch. It was glorious! We even rode around one of the super nice neighborhoods near Encanto Park and dreamed of one day living in those beautiful homes... not gonna happen haha.

While Aaron and I are in no hurry to have kiddos of our own quite yet, I must say we have thoroughly enjoyed taking my nieces out on dates or having them spend the night with us! Elsie got a picnic in the park and she is quite smitten with Uncle Aaron now! Elsie is just so funny and talkative and silly and sweet! I absolutely adore her!

For Emolyn's 5th Birthday we had her over for a special sleepover! Her and I made cookies and pretended to have a cooking show. At some point in the "show" I told the "audience" that we would be having a special guest on our show when he got home from work - Aaron! She giggled and turned to me and asked, "Aunt Miranda, can I tell them the secret?" I was a bit confused, but said yes. She turned out to the "audience" and said "Aaron is actually UNCLE Aaron and he is Aunt Miranda's husband. They got married and it was beautiful and I was the flower girl!" My heart melted and I had to hold in so much laughter cause she was so serious! I love that little girl my heart could burst!

One of the perks of marriage is that Aaron is a great cook and enjoys it way more than I do! After a long week of crazy insomnia and stress at work, Aaron made me breakfast one saturday in our new Waffle maker complete with fresh blueberry syrup and fresh squeezed orange juice... yep! He's a keeper :)

And there you have it... a picture of my married life so far :)

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Australian Invasion: Phoebe & Liam's Visit Part 4...

Phoebe and Liam were on their own for a day while Aaron and I both had to work... so they kept themselves occupied walking to the vintage shops a few miles away from our house. Then that night Elisabeth joined us for dinner at LoLo's Chicken and Waffles! Another true American dining experience of pure southern cooking. Phoebe and Liam couldn't get over Koolaid in a mason jar and having chicken with waffles and syrup. It would seem their trip to the States was all about food and dining out at delicious restaurants that you won't find in Australia!

... again, no pictures :(

BUT the next day I went to work for a half day, came home and we loaded up the car for DISNEYLAND!!!!!!!! This was the best of the best part of their trip and what everything was leading to in my mind! Phoebe had been with me to Paris Disneyland and even when we were there I was trying to explain to her the magic of the original Disneyland. Now that both of us have been to two Disneyland parks together (and I have been to Disney World) the only next step would be to meet around the world at all the Disney parks! YAY! hahaha! I told her that if she and Liam ever got married, I would meet her for a bachelorette party in Japan or China at one of those Disneylands.

Let me back up however... during the time that I was at work Phoebe and Liam were able to participate in another awesome Arizona/American pastime... shooting random stuff in the middle of the desert! Tyler and Jess took them out with a bunch of Tyler's guns, some old TVs and other random stuff they found laying around the desert and had them go to town on shooting! Phoebe and Liam took tons of videos and these pictures! They couldn't get over how awesome it was!


Our journey started right on time when Aaron walked through the door, we loaded up and hit the road! Oh wait, first I'll give a shout out to my mom who got Phoebe and Liam an adorable sign for their home... "Welcome to our watering hole". They opened the gift right as we were leaving.

Thanks mom!!

Along the way to Disneyland we of course took advantage of the desolate desert and did a bit of Dance Video filming! Below is a picture of Phoebe and I between takes waiting for the sun to come out.

 It was so fun for us to have Liam and Aaron there to get to see the process of film making! A lot of standing around waiting for people to clear out of the sun to come out or a whole multitude of other things.

Of course along the way we had to stop at the famous In & Out Burger in Indio, California. Until In & Out came to Arizona year ago, we would always have to stop at this place on the way to Disneyland to eat their awesome burgers! Phoebe and Liam had heard about In & Out from another friend and so they were excited to try it!

Of course we got Phoebe a hat :)
We got to the hotel late and quickly fell asleep to prepare for the big day at the park!

We woke up bright and early and ready for the day the next morning... in fact we were a little too ready, because we were early to the park! We walked up and down Downtown Disney to pass time and get Aaron from coffee... Phoebe and Liam were going to die of excitement being so close and yet so far from being inside the park

Finally we got them their tickets and headed into the land of "Yesterday, Today and Fantasy!"

Liam is more excited than he looked
It was a gorgeous day... colder than this picture lets on, but we took our coats off for the photo

looking cool
It was such a magical day! The lines were awesome, we mastered the park in great time and of course enjoyed the general splendor and magic of Disney

Morning Churro... and popcorn

Mad Hatters Hat shop

Tarzan's Tree House

Alice's House

Winnie the Pooh!

Haunted Mansion

Meeting the big man himself!
Spinning in a stationary tea cup

Storybook Boat ride just Aaron and I

The seedy underbelly and back allies of Roger Rabbit

Toon Town jail

Liam looks so prim and proper as Phoebe drives around the streets of Toon Town

Happy Disney Birthday Liam!
Happy to be in Disneyland!
It was a full first day and we finished it off with the hot tub at our hotel... well sort of. Our hot tub was full of high school and Jr high kids... so we snuck into the neighboring hotel to use their hot tub. Awesome!

The next day was rainy! :( I was so glad the morning of the second day that we were there for 3 days, because rides were clothing left and right because of rain and hail!

We tried to find rest in the Bugs Life 3D show, but it had technical difficulties and they kicked us out into the rain again... needless to say there were little pictures from the second day. We did get some awesome ride pictures though!

Zombie attack on Space Mountain... I have no idea what the lady in the front is doing....

Radiator Springs Racers on a rare sunny moment

Zombie attack on Radiator Springs Racers

Ninja Phoebe

Toy Story!

... and they lived happily ever after, indeed.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree!
Luigi's Flying Tires

The day was frigidly cold but we stuck it out to see World of Color and then the fire works on Main Street in Disneyland. Because of the rain, a ton of people went home and so the park was nearly empty by night time! Of course I cried at the fireworks :)

Last day in the park and last full day together...

Phoebe and Liam left earlier than Aaron and I to get into the park and ride all the rides they wanted to over again! Mainly Star Tours, which Aaron and I won't ride because it makes us nauseous... We checked out of the hotel, and then had over 2 hours in the park with just the two of us... we did one of our favorite things, which was to walk around and sit on main street and just hang out and people watch. We also got in a few of the lesser Fantasyland rides Aaron had not ridden yet at all... like the Carousel and Casey Jr.'s train.

YAY Carousel!

As soon as we got on the Carousel, Wendy from Peter Pan walked out and stood near the sword in the stone for people to get pictures with her... I couldn't enjoy the ride on the carousel cause I was so worried I would miss Wendy! (I'm a huge Peter Pan fan if you didn't know).

Luckily I caught her right before she left. She asked if I was a Mermaid because of my red hair and if I was a nice Mermaid like Ariel or a mean Mermaid like the ones in Neverland... gosh I love her!

Aaron also of course got to spend time at one of his favorite Disneyland spots - the Shooting Exposition

We met up with Phoebe and Liam and headed over to California Adventure for a few last rides, but the parks had become so incredibly busy (probably making up for the people that left early cause of the rain the day before), so we were pretty done after lunch time.

We left the park, bought a few last souvenirs in Downtown Disney and then headed to Newport Beach to see the Pacific Ocean! Phoebe and Liam had never seen the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, and so that was a treat to watch it with them and honor our last night together in America!

Newport Beach Pier
So sad our friends are leaving!
Just doing what I do... chasing birds.
Sun setting over the water

We grabbed dinner at Bear Flag, one of Aaron and my favorite seafood restaurants! Great food and great conversation! Then we headed for our hotel near LAX. Phoebe and Liam were flying out the next morning for San Francisco and Aaron and I would drive home to Phoenix.
We got to our hotel and discovered that the power had gone out and may not be fully functioning for another 4 hours... this resulted in us cancelling our booking and cold calling near by hotels until we found one! haha... quite an adventure. We got a room at a Marriott Courtyard and slept easy that night.

The next morning was so painful :( Saying goodbye to Phoebe and Liam was so hard! We had talked throughout their visit about all the places we could meet up in the future... but who knows when that will happen so it is always hard to say goodbye. We did the whole hugging and crying by the car... alright that was mainly Phoebe and I... and then we did the whole waiving as Aaron and I drove away until we were truly out of sight... I miss them so much and my house feels so empty without them! I can't believe what a fun fill time we had with them! I can't believe Phoebe was in my house, in my state, in my country! I can't WAIT till we meet again somewhere around the world!!!

Options are:
New Zealand
or somewhere in Europe again

Either way, it was an ABSOLUTE BLAST and we have memories to spare from their time here!