A fun week with Liz & Matthew

Our friends Liz and Matthew came to visit from Dallas this week and we’ve all been having a great time. I haven’t seen them since our wedding, where Liz was the Maid of Honor, so it’s been nice getting caught up. They stayed with us Monday night, but unfortunately I got stuck at the office until 11:00 that night and didn’t get to spend much time with them. They had a hotel downtown for the middle of the week but met up with Jessica and Ava everyday for brunches and beach trips. Last night we all went out to dinner at Cucina Urbana, which is a place Jessica and I have been wanting to go to for quite a while. Dinner was everything we hoped it would be and we’ll definitely be going back. We really loved everything about it. After dinner we stopped by the Tractor Room for a drink and got to say hello to all my old buddies. Ava was with the babysitter and apparently everything went great. It’s hard to believe she’s 10 months old now! We had a late night last night but it was a really nice time. Today they’re going home to Dallas, which I’m sure they’re ready for, but I hope they enjoyed themselves. Ava is coming to jiu–jitsu with me this morning so Jessica can join them for one more brunch before flying out.

Rock shows and broken toes

Tonight Jessica and I are going to see one of our favorite bands in concert: The Red Hot Chili Peppers! I got these tickets as a birthday present for her quite a while ago and the day has finally come. We’ve always loved going to concerts together but obviously it’s a little tougher now with a baby. Luckily we have Natasha coming over to babysit tonight so we can go out and have fun. I’ve only seen the Chili Peppers in concert once, which was at the grand opening of the Experience Music Project in Seattle back in the late 90’s. They played a short set that day because of all the other bands playing, so this should be much better, and of course there is no one I’d rather go to a show with than my amazing wife Jessica!

Unfortunately I’m going to have to watch my step for the next 6 weeks because I broke a toe last night. I was having a rough night with Ava, who was being really fussy after Jessica left for work. I was trying to study but Ava wasn’t letting that happen, so I tried to hold her for a while but she didn’t seem to want that either. I tried feeding her but that wasn’t what she wanted so I was getting frustrated from not knowing what to do. I decided to take out the recycling from the kitchen to the garage because it was almost full. I was barefoot and ended up smashing my left foot into a brick along the side of the walkway in our front patio. It hurt like you wouldn’t believe and started bleeding from under the nail of the toe next to my pinky toe. Would that be considered your ring toe? I’ve always hated toe rings so I hope not.

Anyway, at first I thought I just stubbed it but within 5 minutes it had swollen up and I couldn’t bend it. I went online to read about signs of and treatment for a broken toe. I had all the signs they mentioned but I could tell it wasn’t too bad of a break so I called Jessica at work and asked her to pick up some medical tape on her way home. Between the ice, ibuprofren, and whiskey I consumed I was able to kill the pain but it’s still frustrating. I won’t be missing a minute of Jiu–Jitsu though; I’m preparing for my blue belt test and its going to take a lot more than a broken toe to stop me. Jessica taped it up last night and this morning its not too bad unless I step on it the wrong way. I remember my Dad telling me as a kid that whenever you hurt something you’ll realize how much you use it and how often something touches it. As usual he was right; within 20 minutes of breaking it Ava had come over and grabbed it, and Bruno had stepped on it, neither of which felt good. Just going to have to tough it out I guess.

I’ve been meaning to add some new photos to the website so here you go!

Pulling herself up like a big girl

The bottle does it every time

Our happy little skeleton

My 4th stripe

Today I completed my 80th hour of jiu–jitsu instruction, meaning that I earned my 4th stripe on my white belt. In jiu–jitsu, once you reach 4 stripes on any belt, your next step is the next belt. The only exception to this rule is with a black belt, but that’s still many years away for me. As a white belt, we receive a stripe after every 20 hours of instruction, however once you get your blue belt (and beyond) stripes usually take a year or so. My instructor Matt was very proud of me today and gave me a big hug. I’ve only been doing jiu–jitsu about 5 months now, which is really quick to get 4 stripes, and it looks like I’ll be ready to test for my blue belt in the next 6 weeks. In general it takes about a year to get to blue belt but I’m on track to get there in half that time, so that’s exciting. I’m so happy I found jiu–jitsu at this stage in my life. It’s turned into my favorite thing to do and is my only hobby other than watching sports and spending time with my loved ones.

My Mom set sail for the Caribbean today from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She’s been having a tough time with work lately so I really hope this is a successful trip and that she doesn’t get overworked. My Uncle Bob is having surgery on his back today as well so I’m thinking about him and hoping for the best. I spoke to him this morning and he sounded great. Our little Ava is getting her first two teeth right now and she’s dealing with it really well. She’s been waking up at night more than usual but she’s really been such a little champ. She’s so mobile now it’s crazy! We have to barricade her in the living room just to keep track of her. She’s growing up fast and Jessica and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I’ve been keeping very busy with work and school lately so I’m ready for a relaxing Sunday tomorrow filled with football and couch time. I’m also working on designs for a new website I’m doing for a friend of my Uncle Jim’s, and those are coming along nicely. Hopefully I’ll be able to show him something this week. That’s all for now. I know I haven’t posted any pics for a bit but I plan to very soon.

Shawn & Kim’s Wedding

We spent this past weekend in Las Vegas so that we could attend our friends Shawn and Kim’s wedding. Shawn and I have been great friends for the last 10–12 years but we don’t get to see each other very often due to the fact that they live in Chicago and we’re out here on the west coast. Shawn and I worked together at El Gaucho in Seattle for years and were always really close so it was great to be there for him on their special day. This was the first time I’ve been asked to be a groomsman and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

As usual, we stayed at my Mom’s house and had a great time visiting with her. Since we were busy down on the strip with wedding related activities, Ava got to spend a lot of quality time with her Nana. My Mom was busy getting ready for a 17 day work trip to the Carribean but not too busy to enjoy the time with her grandbaby. My Aunt Lisa is going to be house sitting for my Mom while she’s gone so she arrived on Sunday with her two dogs. This means that for one day we had 8 dogs, 4 adults, and a baby in one house. Surprisingly enough the house wasn’t very chaotic, only because Lisa is so good at controlling all the dogs that none of them dare to disobey her.

We’ll be going back to visit my Mom at the end of October for Devin and Eve’s wedding, which as it turns out is my Mom’s birthday weekend, so that should be fun. Any excuse to get her and Ava together is good for both of us. Our visits to Las Vegas always go by so quickly but I wouldn’t have missed Shawn and Kim’s wedding for anything. We made record time driving home yesterday (4:45) and even got to see my Raiders get embarassed on Monday Night Football. All together it was a great weekend spent with family and friends, and that’s what it’s all about.

Labor Day Weekend – 2012

After a busy week at work I was really looking forward to the 3 day holiday weekend. Friday night Jessica went to the going away party for her chef at Azul, so Ava and I stayed in and I got ready for my trip to the Gracie Academy in Torrance the following morning. My "Bubba Gracie" grappling dummy was ready for pickup so Donnie and I went up there for a class. Unfortunately I haven’t been feeling that great lately and had a hard time in class because of it, but we got to meet Rorion Gracie (oldest son of Helio – the inventor of Gracie Jiu–Jitsu) and that made the whole trip worth it.

Since getting home from Torrance I’ve been on the computer the whole time getting homework done, as well as studying Javascript and Portuguese on my own. Jessica has had the past 4 days off, which was nice considering how much she’s been working lately. We went out shopping earlier this week and got me a suit to wear at Shawn and Kim’s wedding next week in Vegas. We also finally got a nice big sectional couch at Costco. We’ve been talking about buying a new couch for at least two years so it was about time.

Having the day off tomorrow will allow me to get well ahead on my school assignments for the week so I don’t have to worry about them while we’re in Vegas over the weekend. Ava is getting more and more active every day, which can make it tough to get studying done, but is so fun to watch. She’s really trying to stand up but always ends up in this funny ‘downward dog’ yoga pose. We took the dogs out for a walk today and Ava seems to love it more than anyone so we’ll probably do it again tomorrow. The plan is to leave for Vegas on Friday as soon as I leave work, but of course I have a deadline on a project that day and may end up getting stuck late at the office. Deadlines on Friday’s should be illegal if you ask me but it’s motivation to finish early. We’re really looking forward to the wedding and seeing everyone next weekend. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to post about by the time we get home.