Back from Paradise

Sorry for the lack of blogging - we just got back from a fantasticly fabulous vacation. We went with two friends, Josh and Shannon, and spent seven days not thinking about anything except whether we'd have a Pina Coloda or Strawberry Margarita. Here's a quick recap of our trip:

Saturday, December 8:

Arrived in San Diego early and headed straight to our totally awesome hotel, Hotel Solamar. We pricelined this bad boy and paid $120 a night (regularly something crazy like $289). The rooms were awesome and from 5-6 each night the hotel offers complimentary wine and champagne, and from 6-10 each morning Starbucks coffee and tea. Anyway, we took the trolley car deal to Las Americas outlet mall, which is right on the US/Mexico border. I mean right on the border - you could throw a rock from the mall over the wall. Anyway, we managed to find some great purchases. Steal of the trip was a Cashmere dress coat Trevor bought for $175 ish. Original price? $650.

Dinner that night was at Dussini. I'd HIGHLY recommend the Lobster Mac & Cheese here. One of the best things I have tasted in a long time. And some Top Chef contestant is the restaurant founder or something. Anyway, I have to admit the restaurant smelled a little funky when we walked in so I was a little sketch, but fear not. It was delish. While we were waiting for our table we popped into a nearby Aussie bar and had a beer from down under. It was really good and a cool place. I wish I could remember the name of it.

Sunday, December 9

Did a little shopping in the mall in the Gaslamp District then LIMO'd it to Temecula. Temecula is an up and coming wine valley and we just had a great time. We went to three vineyards: Hart, Briar Rose (where Jay Leno visited recently!) and KeyWays. The limo driver, Chris, was awesome. I'd definitely recommend his company if you are interested in doing this tour.

When we arrived back to San Diego (not sober) we did a sushi dinner and then had a drink at the new Hard Rock Hotel bar just down the street from our hotel. Crazy news: the hotel's grand opening was the next day (Monday, 12/10) and the Black Eyed Peas played. We missed Fergie Ferg by one day!

Monday, December 10

Happy Anniversary to Wendy & Trevor! Two whole years! We had breakfast at super fun and tasty Cafe 222. Then it was time to board the Carnival Elation!

Tuesday, December 11

Sea Day! Lots of fun aboard the Elation! This was formal night which meant Lobster for dinner. YUM!

Wednesday, December 12

Welcome to Cabo San Lucas! Man, I love this city. In fact, I think my next vaca will be to Cabo. We ended up going to a local resort for a few hours upon arrival to take advantage of the 85-degree weather and lay out. Once the boys got restless, we ventured to Cabo Wabo. LOVE the Lobster Tacos! Then we headed to El Squid Roe for a cerveza. Then we headed to the bar we fell in love with on our honeymoon, The Nowhere Bar where we met Estavan, out bartender, and Trevor bought his apron off of him for $20. After a lot of Coronoas (BOGO!) we took one for the road, headed to another bar to get one for the road (it was a long walk back to the ship) and luckily made it on the last tender. We didn't get on the ship any too soon. By the time we made it to the Lido deck, we were already pulling away. After making quite an appearance on the Lido deck (hot tub - Josh in a speedo - the waterslides and the girls getting fake tattoos), we decided we better call it a day and we all turned in around 8 p.m. It was a great, fun day!

Thursday, December 13

Fun Day at Sea! And surprisingly, we all felt well! I'll use this day to talk about a few Elation staffers we fell in love with. Damian at the Piano Bar was amazing. (The boys made a lot of fun of us because we called him amazing so much.) He sounded just like Elton John and Billy Joel. He could play virtually any song requested. He'll be a someone someday. We loved Lindon, our assistant waiter dude in the dining room who didn't speak enough English so he just made funny noises. Ronnie our waiter was great too. He was a macarena pro. Also LOVED Sayed at the bar near our room. He knew our names by heart! He was a dear. And finally, Ninoslav, the bartender in the piano bar, was great. Once Shannon was pretending to hold a lighter to Damian (you know, like at concerts) and then Ninoslav comes over and just says, "here's a real one." He also told Shannon to stay on the ship and never go home. Hilarious.

Friday, December 14

Ensenada, Mexico. Our ATV excursion was so fun! I wish I knew the company we did it through. (We booked it through the ship.) Our guide, Bernie, was hilarious. We each got our own ATV and we really "opened those hogs up," as I called it. I'll post photos when I get Trevor's - I didn't take mine on the excursion. We rode through wine country and at one point we were right next to cows - without a fence between us and them! We had lunch at some interesting Americanized Mexican restaurant and then Josh got some churros, and then we headed back to the ship. We lived it up that evening as the last night of our vacation - until our bodies just wouldn't accept another sip of beer.

Saturday, December 15

Home :-(


Absolutely Horrible

Today marks one of the most horrific events in my lifetime. 9/11 was absolutely awful. Columbine was devestating. Virginia Tech was terrible. But the shooting at Westroads hits so damn freaking close to home.

I was in Kansas CIty when the shootings take place. But if I was in Omaha, what if I had decided to run to Von Maur over lunch to pick up a Christmas gift? My mom wants to get a red sweater to wear and some nice, comfy PJs for a Christmas party Monday, and thought she better go before she gets to start dog sitting Macy Saturday. She considered going today.

Here's an email I recently sent to friends. I am sure I will post more about this soon. Until then, additional thoughts because I can't really focus right now.

Yes, I was in Kansas City. But I still don’t know that I have ever been this shook up. You guys this is awful. It’s horrible. It hits so damn close to home. I have presents under my tree from Von Maur. I spent three hours there Friday afternoon. A family friend works there and was standing next to a guy who got shot in the head. Right freaking next to him. Von Maur is the place to go. The jeans I am wearing are from Von Maur. It’s the Nordstom of Omaha. It’s where we got my mom that Sonicare face wash thing from Oprah’s favorite things (that we were talking about at lunch, LTD). One of my freaking best friends was in the parking lot going to go in and do Christmas shopping, but got a phone call and was chatting in the car. For SOME reason he decided he didn’t want to shop and left. As he was pulling out of the parking lot the cops started pulling in. When he got home he turned on the TV and realized what he almost walked into. Anyone I know could have been there.

I just can’t comprehend it. A woman on the radio said she was listening to gun shots and Christmas music at the same time. One woman’s young daughter told her mom she thought it [gunshots] was a hammer. I couldn’t even hold back the tears when I crossed into Omaha and then you can see the store from the interstate exit I take to get home and I just felt nauseous.

Normally the first thing I do tonight is turn on our Christmas lights plug in the Christmas tree. It was really hard to do that tonight. It’s just terrifyinh.


Have your sELVES a Merry Little Christmas

The funny thing is I wanted us to wear elf hats for our Christmas card photo and use that line. Trevor nixed the hats the minute I pulled his out. But that's okay - we've still been elfed. Click on this for holiday greetings from the Fitches. Office Max is ingenious.


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The Fitch abode is turning into a winter wonderland! With exactly one month til Christmas, the casa is now adorned with Christmas lights, decor and a tree. The Fraser Fir isn't decorated yet, but check back for photos once it's all glammed up!


Gobble Gobble

Our Thanksgiving was terrific! The holiday actually started off Wednesday night when we went to Trevor's parents' for family game night. We (kind of) dominated Trivia Pursuit - 90s edition. Thursday we had two turkey dinners - one at noon with the Fitches and one at 5 pm with Hicks & Co.

This was Macy's first Thanksgiving and she loved it! (Note: she also experienced her first snow Wednesday and she isn't too fond of the white stuff.) Macy, while sporting a button-up/sweater combo, even got her own turkey day dinner courtesy of Three Dog Bakery. She loved playing with my little cousins (technically second cousins). Three-year-old Bella LOVED Macy. And Bella knew it, because at one point in the evening Bella said to me, "Macy wuvs me." It was quite hilarious. Bella has a Mastiff at home and if you know what a Mastiff is, you know they are large dogs. Macy was the perfect size for Bella. You can tell Bella has seen her parents and siblings take their dog, Miley, by the collar so that's just what Bella did - drug Macy across the tile floor by her collar. Apparently at one point Bella said to my cousin Morgan, "her [Macy's] stomach is making a weird noise," though in fact Morgan was pretty sure Macy was choking. Then at one point Bella was carrying Macy under one of her arms and when her mom told her to put the dog down, Bella did. Literally. She just opened up her arm and PLOP went Macy to the ground. Like Trevor said, "good thing Bella's not 6'3''." Toward the end of the night I told Bella we should let Macy sleep, so she did. Macy, Bella and I were in the chair, watching the video we made for GG's birthday. But when Macy woke up Bella used her body weight to push Macy back down. After being forced down a few times, Macy finally crawled into her bed. The funny thing is she looked dead, and we all joked she was playing dead so no one would mess with her anymore. I neglected to add she was hit with a dart throughout the course of the evening.

Macy slept until 11 a.m. Friday. It was awesome.

Macy was great with Bella and the rest of the kids. I'd love to have them play with her again - I enjoy being able to sleep-in once in a while.


T. Fitch's Witches

Macy's first Halloween was a true success. Her costume was a little small (she does weigh 5 pounds, 2 ounces now you know) but it was better than the hula costume we tried on her at the last minute. That was way too big and besides - I picked up a witch hat for me, not a grass skirt. What would I have been?

Looking possessed; appropriate for Oct. 31

Here's my scary face

On our broomstick

Trick or treat grandpa

Thank goodness we're home - Halloween's tiring


Happy Halloween

Betcha expected a post about ghosts and goblins, but instead you're getting a quick recap about Wine 'Til Nine - the wine and microboo tasting event last week. WTN raised more than $52,000 for the Nebraska Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation and more than 275 boys and ghouls attended. It was a spooktacular success!

Here are some photos from the after party at Witch's Pub...

Be sure to check out OmahaFrightLife.com's photos, too!


Today's a big day

Not only is today the eighth annual Wine 'Til Nine, it's also my grandma's EIGHTIETH annual birthday! That's right, today she turns the big 8-0. Today marks her 29,200th day. Likely her 29,200th beer and cigarette too.

To celebrate, most of the family is heading to Kansas City. The real party will be Saturday night at Ameristar - per GG's request. I really hope she's not reading this blog today or the surprise will be ruined, but we're going to the casino by limo and just having a hoot of a day. We got a hotel room (Ameristar's been difficult and apparently they have no conference type rooms for us to rent) where we'll have snacks, cupcakes and board games for the po' folks like me who can't gamble for 12 hours straight. Oh yeah - coolers of beer up there too. And koozies to decorate. (That was my idea of course. My dad is going to hate me.)

I'm really excited about the video we made her. My cousin Karli and I have spent a LOT of time on it - though my mom, aunt Bev, Olivia, aunt Deanna and GG's sister Bernice have helped a lot too. The title of the movie? "Lorraine Adele - this is your life (or so we think)." It's a chronicle the major milestones of her past 80 years - or at least what we'd classify as major milestones of her past 80 years. This was an interesting project for many reasons:

1. Karli and I realized we didn't know as much as we thought we did about GG. I knew she was born in North Dakota, but wasn't exactly sure where. We didn't know her middle name. We couldn't spell her maiden name (Friederich) for the life of us. That's bad.

2. I got to scan all of the photos. It's time consuming. But fortunately I am a scanning whiz now and even learned a shortcut so I didn't have to scan each photo individually. I'd probably still be scanning if that was the case.

3. While my family is very close, we don't see a lot of each other. Most of my cousins have kids. We're spread across the country. We have different interests. However, events like this give us an opportunity to get together more frequently and I like that.

4. Don't think you'll cram 80 years into a 15 minute video. This video's going to be about an hour. Not kidding.

The best part of making the video though - by far - is the photos I got to go through and that I now have access to because they're on my computer. We found some great photos I probably would never of seen, let alone have, if it weren't for this project. They are very special to me. Some of my favorites:

A lot of the family with my great grandma in the middle left. I never met her; she passed away shortly after this photo (I think). My mom is pregnant with me in this photo.

My pregnant mom (with me!) and her grandma. Essentially four generations of women here (without my grandma in the photo of course).

My grandma, grandpa and me (technically my step-grandpa because my grandma was divorced and remarried) but he was always grandpa to me. He passed away when I was in high school.

My great-grandfather. He passed away before I was born. I don't think I had ever seen a photo of him before.

My grandpa Ralph (my mom's dad) in the navy. Such a cool photo. He passed away when I was in 6th grade. After a few beers when I am out with my folks I always cry because I think he and Trevor would have gotten along so well.

My grandma and grandpa Ralph's engagement photo.

Grandma and grandpa Ralph's wedding photo.

Grandma and grandpa's marriage certificate.

My mom's baby photo.

I can't wait to see the video! And I can't wait to share this story with the rest of my family:
We were getting a beer stein engraved for my grandma for Saturday night. My mom called me on her way to the engraving place and here's how the conversation went:
Mom: "I'm on my way to get the mug engraved. What should I put on it?"
Wendy: "How about happy birthday GG on one side and on the other side either 80 years young or her birthdate."
Mom: "I don't know what year she was born in."
Wendy: Silence
Mom: Laughter
Wendy: "Wow. That'll get brought up this weekend."

Have a great weekend!