28 November 2006

riverbank: the city of action

it's true. our little tiny town's motto is "the city of action". no one's quite sure where the moniker from...however...there are plenty of theories. one implies that riverbank is inhabited by "loose women" and therefore it is the place to come for ahem...such services rendered. another theory i've heard is what i like to call the "footloose" theory. supposedly, back in the day, modesto (the nearest town) didn't allow high school dances but riverbank did...so the local high school students had to have their dances here in riverbank, along with other forms of entertainment (kind of along the lines of the previous theory). whatever the origins of the title, the fact is that in the two years (almost) that i have called riverbank home, it truly has been "the city of action". for example...the police have been called at least four times for domestic disturbances in our neighborhood. three of them involved the same couple (thankfully the woman moved out...since then their house has been pretty quiet) and the other time was for a child molestation...yikes! on a separate occasion, a police helicopter spent a good fifteen minutes flying over our little block with its search lights on looking for someone while several sheriff cars patrolled the streets with their own search lights blaring. good times. we've also had a flood! last spring, it rained so hard for about thirty minutes that the streets were literally covered with about twelve inches of standing water.

why do i bring all this up you ask? because this weekend we had another evening of excitement to add to our our growing list of disruptions while dwelling in the fine city of riverbank. on saturday night around 10.30pm, john and i were startled by a loud explosion outside our bedroom window. i didn't think much of it actually...i just thought our neighbor was banging around in his work truck or something. but curiousity got the best of john and he peeked out the window only to discover that one of the houses across the street was on fire! smoke was billowing out of the garage and before long, flames were licking up the sides of the house, causing the van that was parked in the driveway to ignite as well. i've never actually seen a house burn before so this was quite the experience. john went outside and watched from across the street...however, i was content to stay inside and watch from the warmth of my bedroom. eventually...before the night was over...seven firetrucks, an ambulance (thankfully it wasn't needed), a police car, the fire cheif's suburban (why do they ALWAYS drive suburbans?) and a boom truck with stadium lights filled our tiny street. thankfully, no one was hurt and most of the damage was contained to the garage and van. the house had smoke damage of course but they think most of the inside is salvageable. we still don't know what started the fire...we assume it had something to do with the explosion we heard...but who knows? houses don't just randomly catch on fire...so it had to be something. we're fairly certain it wasn't drugs (a big problem here in the central valley) because of the lack of chemical precautions taken. and i'm pretty sure it would have made the news if it had been drugs...and so far...it hasn't. anyways...like i said...riverbank has lived up to its infamous name...the city of action. ha!

a quick update about the rest of the holiday weekend...luke was here from tuesday evening to sunday afternoon. gosh...i like that kid! it was great having him here. we didn't do a whole lot but that's really ok. supposedly he likes it better that way. wednesday we took him to the cingular store to get him a phone for his birthday (from my parents...i'm not that generous!). this was his first cell phone...so it was pretty funny watching him figure it all out. while we were still in the store, he was just standing there with it in his hand looking a bit awkward so i asked him what was wrong. he said that he didn't really know what to do with it! i told him to just put it in his pocket and answer it when it rings. he seemed ok after that. :D

thursday we spend mostly at john's parents house. we had mexican style lunch (tacos mexican style...the good kind! my mouth is watering just thinking about them...) and then a more traditional turkey dinner. so i guess i got the best of both worlds. luke had his first "official" beer...since he turned 21 on sunday...we let him fudge a little bit. john and luke played basketball with john's neice and nephew in the afternoon...i wanted to play...but the belly kinda prevents any kind of activity like that. :( oh well...i'll be able to join in pretty soon.

friday we went to go get our christmas tree! after much deliberation we decided not to drive up to the foothills to chop our own down because i really didn't think i could handle sitting in the car that long. so we just drove down the street and picked out a cute pre-cut one from one of the tree farms that are so populous around this area this time of year.

i spent friday afternoon decorating it and then saturday afternoon decorating the rest of the house. i didn't put up as much stuff as i did last year just so i won't have so much to take down later. it'll be a lot harder to deal with with baby i'm assuming...so i figured i could have a little less of a christmas wonderland in my house this year and a little more sanity because of my sacrifice. :D
luke left us on sunday...the sky cried with us. it started raining just as his ride came to pick him up. it was great having him here...hopefully he can make it again in the spring.
anways...that's my thanksgiving weekend...how was yours?

20 November 2006

the most wonderful time of the year...

it's foggy and quiet today. foggy days are almost as good as rainy days. not quite...but prolly at least next in line in the list of "good inclement weather" days. i'm supposed to be cleaning the house...as it is monday and mondays are not only laundry day but also "clean the house" day...but i'd so much rather sit here at my computer and listen to christmas music. so here i am.
i cannot believe thanksgiving is this week. so crazy how time flies. we're still a bit undecided as to what's actually happening on the actual day of thanks. undoubtably we'll be going to john's parents house but we're still not sure if it's going to be crazy mexican style thanksgiving with about fifty people there or just john's parents, sister and her family and us. if i had my way...it would be the smaller version of john's family...but as hispanic families are not democracies (that totally doesn't look spelled right but i looked it up in the dictionary and it is...) my say really doesn't hold much weight. there's nothing wrong with the bigger version of thanksgiving except for the fact that it wouldn't really be thanksgiving. instead of turkey and the traditional fixings we'd be forced to have carnitas (pork cooked in pure lard...and i'm not even joking about the "pure" part of that last statement. it is for that reason alone (and not even that i don't typically even like pork that much) that i refuse to eat them), beans, rice, tortillas and if we're really lucky...maybe a salad. now...any other day of the year...i'm completely satisfied with beans, rice and tortillas (especially if they're homemade!). but thanksgiving is not just any other day of the year. so at the risk of sounding like a spoiled little kid...i'd really like to just have thanksgiving with turkey! is that too much to ask? anyways...i'll stop this rant now...and console myself with the fact that i can have my own mini thanksgiving meal on friday if i want.

another happy thought i could dwell on is the fact that my littlest brother is coming to visit me! yay! it's almost become a tradition...luke coming for thanksgiving...and it is definitely a tradition i would love to continue. when he finishes up at biola the tradition will probably be forced to end since he will most likely not remain in california...but then again...who knows? i like it when my brother comes. we have fun just chillin', listening to music, reading, eating (he likes that part more than i do typically) and the best thing of all...decorating for christmas! (i'm pretty sure he doesn't like that part as much as the eating part...) the pic is from last year when he came up to see us and we went to see harry potter for luke's birthday. we loves our harry potter...yes we do.

this year on the day after thanksgiving we're gonna drive up into the foothills and chop down a real tree...should be fun! last year we just drove down the street to one of those "tree lots" and picked one up there. and although we got a killer tree, this year i wanted to actually chop it down myself. really...i'm not gonna be doing any chopping whatsoever...i'll be watching john and luke do it...but still...it'll be a fun first time. luke's birthday is also this next weekend...on the 26th...so we'll prolly take him out for dinner and a movie or something fun like that. it's his 21st birthday...so i'd love to take him out for a beer...but unfortunately...he's under contract at biola (like most christian schools, they have you sign a contract at the beginning of the year that says you won't drink, smoke, etc.) and since his actual birthday is on sunday...he'll be driving back to biola on the actual day. so yeah...no beer for lukey on his 21st. kind of a bummer...but the beer's not going anywhere...it'll be there when he's not under contract anymore. it'll just havta wait til next time. plus...it's no fun to take someone out for a beer when you can't have one with them. and i definitely want to partake in that with him.
speaking of being pregnant (nice segway...i know), i've only got about three weeks left. um...did someone say yikes? exactly. i'm certainly looking forward to not being pregnant anymore...but the radical life change that's coming still scares me a bit. but i suppose that's completely normal...and i must say...i am excited to finally meet this little man. after so many months of wondering what he'll be like...i'll finally get some answers to my questions...and that is very fun.

anyways...i should really get going. i'm starting to feel a bit guilty just sitting here transcribing my random thoughts onto a computer screen while my house continues to be dirty and the laundry pile seems to grow by the minute. hope this thanksgiving week is relaxing and restful for all...

14 November 2006

christmas survey...and no...it's not too early!

Christmas Survey - Something to get us into the mood a little early...how fun!

1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?
apple cider please! preferably with a little rum in it...but i guess i'll havta pass on that this year...boo.

2. Turkey or Ham?
turkey! i'm not a pig fan...

3. Do you get a Fake or Real Christmas tree?
last year was the first time i got a real christmas tree in manymany years...and it was so fun! we're gonna go cut down our own this year...

4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
if it was up to me...of course we'd have lights up (not any of the cheesy inflatable santa or snowmen though)...but john's kinda lazy...so usually we just have a wreath.

5. Snowball fights or sledding?
both! but especially sledding when you have a rope tow to take you back up to the top!

6. Do you like hanging around the fireplace because it's warm?
um...sure. except our fireplace is ghetto and doesn't really put off that much actual heat...it's more for looks i think. lame-o!

7. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
in san fran...YES! in modesto...uh...no thanks.

8. Favorite Christmas song?
oh gosh. this is the hardest question in the world! maybe i could do my top five...in no particular order though...steven curtis chapman's instrumental "carol of the bells" (stinkin' sweet!), jewel's "oh holy night" (who knew she could sing like that?), michael w. smith's "all is well" (what's christmas without boy's choirs?), rebecca st. james' "sweet little jesus boy", and jars of clay "bethlehem town". there are a ton more...but i'll stop there.

9. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
cheesy...but you gotta love 'em.

10. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
never! i listen to christmas music year round! although they are way more fun with the decorations up too...

11. Stockings before or after presents?
always before! silly...

12. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
i've never actually got a chance to listen to them! we were always the ones doing the carolling...

13. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you?
going home. but if i can't do that...it's always nice to have people come to you...

14. Do you read the Christmas Story (Twas' the night before Christmas)?
we always read the biblical version from luke christmas morning before christmas. although sometimes we read max lucado's version of it...just for some variety.

15. What do you do after presents and dinner on christmas?
clean up and just chill...prolly eat more. work on the christmas puzzle...

16. What is your favorite holiday smell?
apple cider (with lots of spices) and christmas tree!

17. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
ice skating please! i hate the mall...

18. Favorite Christmas memory?
luke coming into my room super early on christmas mornings to cuddle while we waited til it was time to wake mom and dad up. i miss my little cuddle bunny! (he would die if i knew i still called him that...ha!)

19. Favorite Part about winter?
everything! i LOVE winter!!!!!!

20. Favorite Christmas decor???
lights, lights and more lights...snowflakes and cranberries and pine boughs...and of course...MISTELTOE!

21. Lights...colored or clear????
clear...always clear. but the red ones can look cool in the right situation.

22. What is the best Christmas gift you ever received?
if i'm gonna be materialistic about it...prolly my telephoto lens john got me last year...but really...it's so not about the presents!

23. What is your favorite Christmas tradition in your family?
just being together...all of us. i miss that.

11 November 2006

it's raining...it's pouring...

i think rainy weather makes me more introspective and therefore...more likely to blog. hence the large amount of blogging this week. i feel like winter is almost here! finally the rains have come...dousing the central valley with wet...turning the fields green and the leaves on the trees yellow. it still has yet to snow much in the mountains...just in the really high elevations but i think that might change in the next week considering the weather patterns heading down this way from the north. yay! i love this time of the year! i'm getting so excited for christmas to come...which is not unusual i suppose but still...it catches me by surprise every single year. this christmas is going to be decidely different...since we'll have a newborn baby and most of our house packed up in boxes but still...i'm not going to let that deter my holiday spirit. i was so excited yesterday when i wandered into our local starbucks and found the store decked out in its finest christmas decor. the peppermint mocha has returned! woohoo! actually...it really doesn't compare to my usual drink (double tall decaf non-fat latte with valencia and extra foam...try it! it's magnificent!) but still...it's a fun diversion that does keep my tastebuds occupied for a while. :) silliness...true silliness i know...but there's just something about the christmas season that brings out the kid in me...and really what's wrong with that? (i'm swimming with the dolphins again mom! sorry...inside joke)
so yeah...we're off to church here in a few minutes. john and i have started going to a church in modesto called big valley grace and they have a saturday night service. we really enjoy the service...and it frees up our sunday mornings for some much needed sleeping in and cuddle time! ;) i really dig the worship...it's wonderfully fresh and not recycled at all...which is so nice. the preaching is right on too...it's just that sometimes i find it hard to concentrate on the message because i'm so uncomfortable in the pew. *sigh* i'm thankful that that won't be a permanent condition. :) speaking of my present condition...starting next week i will be considered FULL TERM! that means baby could come ANY TIME! yike-o-la. most likely he'll wait til his appointed time period (my official due date is the 9th...so within a week or so of that date) but still...just knowing that he could come any time does kinda strike a stressful chord deep down in my gut. i'm still filled with questions...like...am i really truly ready for this? are we gonna be good parents? and the ever present question...how bad does labor REALLY hurt? lol...i know the answer to the first two questions and i know God's gonna guide us through this time of transition...but still...i tend to give into my worried human nature more often than not. something i think i'll always be working on i suppose. and as far as labor goes...i know God's gonna help me through that...i HAVE to trust Him in that because if i don't...i'm gonna have major problems. ha. seriously though...with Him i can do ALL things! even endure hours of mind-numbing pain. joy.
anyways...i should get going. i should probably eat something before we head off to church even though i'm not really hungry. this little one still hasn't dropped yet and he's certainly taking up his share of my insides. i look forward to the day he does drop so i can enjoy more than a few bites of my meals. oh joyous day...

10 November 2006

ooo...the new house!

as promised...here are the pics of the new house! it's not quite finished yet (just some minor things left) and we can't get into it to put our "touches" (like paint and millwook) it til escrow closes (on the 8th of december) so it's a little blah right now. but not for long! anyways...here's some pics i took today. some of them are of the model...just cuz it's way more fun to look at rooms that actually have some furniture in them rather than empty blah rooms! plus we're doing similar colors and millwork to the model throughout our new house. anyways...hope you enjoy!

09 November 2006

yup...number three.

despite the fact that i have a myspace account and a bebo account...i have decided i need an official blog. so. here i am. my blog posts will be the same as my myspace and bebo ones...but i've realized that not everyone has myspace or bebo...or even wants to have pages like that! and it's for those of you that i'm doing this. cuz you're special too! :D anyways...i'm generally pretty good about keeping things updated (that might change once baby comes...we shall see!) so yeah...keep checking back...and happy blogging!

08 November 2006

sittin. waitin. wishin.

waiting...waiting...waiting. that's what my life is all about right now. waiting for our new baby. waiting for our new house. waiting for winter to come. waiting for a new semester to start. waiting for the new year to begin chalk full of new, exciting experiences. so many changes ahead...but i'm just sitting here...waiting. i want to do something...anything really...but praticality holds me back. there's not much i can do to make baby come any sooner...he'll come when he's ready. i want to start packing up for our move but john wants to wait til we have a loan (still in the works), hands to help (my mom and dad are coming soon!) and the keys in our hands (if all goes well escrow should close on the 8th of december). and i completely agree with him on all three points since my body really won't let me do much in the physical exertion category anyways and there's no reason to start packing up this house if the move's not actually gonna happen (which it most likely will...but you never know with real estate). i want to start shopping for christmas presents...preparing for the holiday season to come...but financially and physically...i just can't. i want to assemble my christmas cards but considering the fact that they mainly consist of a picture of baby-to-be...i can't start til he gets here. i'd even love to start on some of my assignments for next semester. anything to jump-start my creative juices. it's frustrating just sitting here...waiting for time to move onward. i guess it's just because there's so many changes coming up in our lives...i'd kinda like to get a head-start. a lesson in patience? i guess so. so many things i want to do...so many things i want to create...to be...to know...to experience. but yet...i'm stuck here...vaguely frustrated with my inability to DO...to do the things i want to do...to do the things i need to do...to do the things i wish to do. a season of waiting...of quiet anticipation...of calm expectation. almost like i'm waiting for my life to start...

06 November 2006

monday, monday.

it's almost ten am on monday morning and although i'm still in my jammies, enjoying a steaming cup of tea, i have started the laundry and cleaned up the kitchen so i feel like i've got a little bit accomplished for the day. it's kinda hazy here in riverbank this morning...and although it's supposed to reach the mid-seventies this afternoon...it's still not even sixty degrees so i've got all the windows open, taking advantage of the cool breeze. being almost full-term...i'm always hot. it's like i've got a little heater stuck to the front of me. i'm so thankful that it's not summer! i'd be dying if it was...
things are starting to get wrapped up with baby stuff...now we're just counting down the days. i'm hoping he decides to come a bit early (but not before my mom gets here on the 28th) but we'll see. babies rarely do what's convinient for their parents. the big news on the anaya front (besides baby's eminent arrival)...we just bought a new house! it's a really cool, really scary proposition for us but we're excited to have the opportunity. it's a bigger house (not exactly what i was wanting...) in the great little community of ripon, about twenty minutes away from where we are now. a little scary for me, the house is about three houses down from john's parents new house, so i'm going to have my in-laws as neighbors. not exactly my idea of a good time...but hopefully it won't be as bad as i'm imagining. it's just that the hispanic culture is so family-centric that they don't really understand that i grew up completely differently and it totally bugs me when the show up unannounced ready to be fed or to stick their noses where they don't belong (ie child-rearing!). we're definitely gonna sit down with them and set some boundries before we move in...but still. not my ideal location. *sigh* the other scary thing is that our current house still hasn't sold. it's been on the market for about three months...and although we've had a few nibbles, no one's really interested in buying it since it's kinda on the pricy side. anyone know anybody who wants to move to riverbank into a great house? we'll get you a good deal... oh...i almost forgot. the final yucky thing about buying this new house...we close escrow the day before my due date. so yeah...not only will i have a brandbrand new baby...we'll be moving! thankfully it's only across town and not across the country and my mom will be here to help me pack. and...as silly as it sounds...i'm kinda bummed i won't be able to put up all my christmas decorations! that's one of my absolute favorite things in the entire world too. oh well...at least i'll have my christmas tree up in one of the houses. we'll actually probably wait til after christmas to "officially" move into the new house (the one nice thing about having our current house still on the market)...so i have about six weeks to pack up and get ready to go. we have a walk-through on wednesday and i'm gonna take a bunch of pictures so i'll be sure to post them as soon as i can so everyone can oooo and aaaaah at this fabulous house. cuz really...as much as i'm complaining about the timing and the possible financial difficulties and the house's proximity to my in-laws...it really is a beautiful house. almost $100,000 worth of upgrades!...my dream kitchen...a great bonus room for all of elijah's "stuff"...two fireplaces...a pretty big backyard (for a development anyways...it's nothing compared to the backyard i had when i was a kid...but hey...this is california. i'll take what i can get for now)...an insane master bath...a beautiful curved staircase...yeah. this thing's decked out. i'll get pics up as soon as i can...
anyways...i'm starting to feel a bit lazy just sitting here in my jammies...my tea's pretty much gone and the laundry needs to be switched over so i guess i'd better get off my duff and get going. it is monday after all...