Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adoption Anniversary

November 6th marked Cider's one year with us. I was looking through some pictures and came across these photos from Alex's phone the day we met, fell in love and brought Cider home.

This picture should have been a warning. It was to Alex. Alex deemed her a spaz the second he saw her.

I just couldn't let her go home with anyone else. Who wouldn't want this face to look up at you everyday?

Cider and I bonded very quickly, much to Alex's dismay. Alex knew that no matter what he said, Cider was coming home with us.

Cider fell asleep in my arms as we frantically picked up some essentials to take her home.

A year later Cider is still a handful but she is full of so much love. I couldn't imagine our lives without her.

Lights Out!

My least favorite holiday of the year came and went quickly this year . . . Halloween. Thank goodness. However, that didn't stop me from carving pumpkins. We actually were going to get very creative with our pumpkins this year. We picked out multiple pumpkins different shades.

We had the 5 pumpkins sitting outside. Unfortunately, our neighborhood squirrels got to them first. We lost a green and small one. As in they completely devoured them. Grrr . . . they even got there little claws in the other ones as well. So we had to rework our plan.

I got a little more creative with my pumpkin face this year. Surprisingly, pumpkin carving is one of my favorite things about Halloween.

Alex was all smiles as he waited for the kiddos to come.

Cider even liked her pumpkin too!

We got a lot of compliments on our pumpkins, especially Cider's.

Not sure how Cider would act with all of the kids, I got a few new toys to occupy her time. She liked them a lot.

However, all of the strange people coming to our door was much more interesting to her. She did really well and eventually just laid down in front of the door.

Alex ran into the house very quickly at 7:45pm frantically turning off all the lights. He ran out of candy. In fact, he pretended to give candy to a large group because he only had 3 pieces and there were 7 kids. We bought approximately 550 pieces of candy and that still wasn't enough. Guess we need to get more for next year. Fantastic!

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes

At the end of October, Alex and I fundraised and participated in the "Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes" hosted by General Mills. Alex and I chose to raise the money and walk in honor of our family members who were diagnosed with the disease.

Alex and I successfully raised $1000 for The American Diabetes Association. We were overwhelmed by the generous response from our friends and family who donated. It meant a lot to us because this is a cause that is close to our hearts.

The $1000 got us into the Cure Club which consisted of a bell rung, special t-shirt, medal and bag of goodies. We also got a lot of high fives.

The pre-walk festivities were a lot of fun. They had music and quite a few mascots, including Buzz the Honeynut Cheerios Bee and Count Chocula.

The weather was a bit on the chilly side but the sun was out and the skies were blue. We had a lot of fun on our walk and hope that we made a small difference.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

1st Year = Paper

To celebrate our one year anniversary (and to just take a real vacation) Alex and I packed up and flew Northeast to visit Maine and Boston. It is a place that I have always wanted to visit and a place Alex wanted to go back to since he was in Boston for only a few days on work. Plus, the traditional one year anniversary gift is paper. So how about a pair of paper airline tickets.

As luck would have it, I got really sick the week before and was very nervous I wouldn't get healthy before we left. I had come down with a serious case of bronchitis (almost walking pneumonia) so it was key to make this trip very relaxing.

We had some serious storms in Minneapolis the day we were leaving so everything was backed up in the airport which meant we were delayed for 2 hours. It was a bummer because we had planned to get to Kennebunkport, Maine at a decent hour that evening. Unfortunately, that did not happen. When we landed in Boston, we got our rental car and hit the road, but we were starving. Not wanting to delay our arrival any further we started checking out something quick to eat. We saw a Dunkin Donuts. Yum! They are not in the Twin Cities and I thought that might be a good spot. However, we passed it and couldn't get back easily. That was okay, because there were Dunkin Donuts on every corner. Seriously! They were also across the street from each other. Check out the picture.

I can't remember the last time I had munchkins. They were how I remember them. Since it was late at night, they weren't as fresh. However, they still hit the spot. The chocolates are still my favorite.

We finally arrived in Kennebunkport, Maine. Unfortunately, it was dark out so we couldn't get a sense of the town. We also arrived to our Bed and Breakfast past hours so they left a key for us to get into the room. They had soft music playing and had champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us. (Alex arranged this with them.) I was thrilled. We were supposed to have champagne and chocolate covered strawberries the night of our wedding but the hotel screwed up. So I finally felt I had the closure . . . a year later. By the way, these were the best chocolate covered strawberries I had.

The next morning we woke up to rainy, dreary, grey skies. We had previously arranged to go out on a lobster boat, but with the weather we had to cancel. Probably for the best because I was still feeling under the weather myself. It left our whole morning open and we were able to enjoy our absolutely amazing breakfast at the B&B. It included warm pears, blackberry muffins, and cheese and artichoke quiche.

The staff at Captain Jefferd's Inn was amazing. They were very helpful in planning our day for us since the weather was a bummer. They even recommended a couple of amazing places to eat.

We were sad to leave the B&B so soon, but we had planned to spend the rest of our trip in Boston. So we packed up after our short stay and made note that we would be back for sure.

The town of Kennebunkport was absolutely adorable. There were a ton of cute little shops and everyone was so nice. We didn't feel like tourists but actual guests.

Kennebunkport is home to Walker's Point, the residence of President George H. W. Bush. The house sits on a tiny piece of land surrounded by water. Supposedly he was home because all 3 flags were flying.

There was another home that we read about called The Wedding Cake house, because it looks like a wedding cake. According to the Inn all of the decorative elements were added later. It was a cute little house which appeared to host events.

Per the recommendation of the Inn we headed to Cape Porpoise Pier to eat a delicious lobster roll and salmon sandwich. Along the way we enjoyed the sights and sounds. It was just as I imagined.

Alex was very excited to get his first bite of his New England clam chowder. He was not disappointed.

The lobster roll and salmon sandwich were delicious. Cape Porpoise Pier Chowder House was a little hole in the wall sitting right on the water.

After a filling and delicious meal we headed up the Maine coast in search of lighthouses. There were a lot to see. I was interested in the coastline. The rock was pushed up on itself. It reminded me a lot of the ice on Lake Superior we saw our first year in Minnesota.

We drove to see the Portland Lighthouse. It is the most photographed lighthouse in Maine. This got us to just south of Portland itself. After a few pictures, we got back in the car and headed off to the Boston portion of our vacation.

The next day was still wet and gloomy so we improvised and tried to do as much as we could inside. We started our Boston adventure at the Samuel Adams Brewery. The tour was surprisingly good despite how small the brewery. We were both inspired by the Samuel Adams story. They shared with us actual ingredients included in the beer that were able to taste.

Afterwards, we ventured into the tasting room and were able to taste 3 different versions of their beer. I enjoyed the seasonal Octoberfest the best.

Nothing like drinking at 11am in the morning.

Afterwards, we headed to Newbury Street to get my Kate Spade fix. I found an adorable necklace that said "mrs." Alex was sweet enough to buy it for me. How appropriate for the trip.

For lunch, we headed over to the Union Oyster House. Alex had been raving about this restaurant since he visited. I learned that it was the first established restaurant in the U.S.

They had the most amazing and biggest corn bread ever!

I couldn't wait any longer for lobster.

Boston is chock full of historical things. You definitely have to keep your eyes open. Especially on the streets. One of the big things to do is walk the "Freedom Trail" that winds around the city. It is marked by red pavers.

The Freedom Trail takes you around to see some of the most important historical sites that played a part in America declaring her freedom. One of the places was Paul Revere's home. It has changed a bit since he lived there.

Another important spot was Granary Cemetery. It was such a small and unassuming cemetery. The headstones were very old. Everyone said that Mother Goose was buried here. If she was, her headstone wasn't there. Instead, you can see her husband's first wife's headstone instead.

Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere were all laid to rest here. It was a bit surreal to be standing where some of the most important and influential Patriots lived, worked, and fought for freedom.

The next day the weather was a bit more tolerable. We bought tickets for a trolley that you can get tour guide information but hop on and off at different spots. We got off at Cheers. Let's just say they didn't know our name and had crappy service. So bad that we actually left.

Across the street is Boston Commons, the city park grounds. We walked around the Swan Pond which was very peaceful and beautiful with the weeping willows.

That evening we headed over to the North End and visited Boston's version of Little Italy. The streets were lined with cute little Italian Restaurants. Italian music was playing in the streets. For dessert, we headed over to Mike's Pastry shop, famous for their cannolis.

We also got some of their macaroons which were delicious as well.

After 2 days in Boston, we were tired of the fast paced lifestyle of the city. We were a bit worn out (which was not what we wanted). So we decided to head north and check out some of the small towns.

Our first stop was Salem. With its history of the Salem Witch Trials, we thought it might be fun considering the Halloween season. It was another very cute town. We even decided to go to the Salem Witch Trial museum to learn more history. However, those witches are good. They stole our money for a crappy show. Oh well . . . you live and learn. We were laughing about it the whole time. We did have the best Haddock lunch in Salem though.

Next stop was Gloucester. The weather was absolutely beautiful. We had a blast walking around the waterfront and picking sea glass.

Gloucester is also home to the iconic sailor statue and memorial. This is to all of the sailors who lost their lives out at sea.

Next stop was Rockford. Another very cute fishing village.

On our way back to Boston, we stopped in Gloucester again to celebrate our actual one year anniversary with an amazing lobster dinner at the Gloucester House Restaurant. This is a favorite restaurant of the locals, Kennedys, casts of I Dream of Jeanie, The Deadliest Catch and The Perfect Storm.

You aren't seeing quadruple. We each had 2 lobsters. They were delicious.

Our last day of our trip took us to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Alex found his favorite New England Clam Chowder yet at the Riverhouse.

That night we stopped off at Friendly's to revisit my youth. The last time I ate at a Friendly's was the summer after my Freshman year of college. After that they turned our Centerville Friendly's into a Doctor's office and I haven't seen one since.

They didn't have my childhood favorite, Clown Ice Cream cone, however, I was able to recreate it as best I could.

We had a great time on our trip. Only, the best part of our anniversary was waiting to be picked up in Minneapolis. Our anniversary cake! Buttercream Bakery that made our wedding cake made us an anniversary cake as part of a thank you for using them. So we had a fresh "top layer" of our cake.

Obviously, we can't spend every anniversary eating lobsters and exploring another part of the country. However, it was a great end to our first year. I am looking forward to many more new memories for years to come. Whether it is in Minnesota or somewhere else.