Friday, March 23, 2012


Today is Julie’s 26th Birthday. I am particularly happy because Julie doesn’t have to work this year on her birthday like she did last year; meaning I get to take her out to breakfast – Julie’s birthday tradition (along with Strawberry Pie). Those of you who are reading this most likely know Julie…but right now I want to remind you all why she is so amazing.

  • Did you know that Julie is the world’s greatest nurse? She has this indescribable ability to connect with children…she can help a child go from crying to smiling in a matter of minutes. While I can’t necessarily go and observe Julie at work, I can easily envision it in my head. There she is in a very tough situation, dealing with children who are battling cancer and/or other sicknesses, and their families whose lives have been turned upside down, all signs pointing to frustration, stress, devastation, and struggle. Yet Julie brings the light of hope out of these children that rubs off on the families as they smile and laugh together and find ways to make a horrible situation just a little bit better. I know Julie is rolling her eyes as she reads this, but rest assured, this is what is happening.
  • I love Julie’s determination. I think this one can be directly attributed to being the youngest of seven kids and having older brothers that, well, toughened her up. When Julie sets her mind to something, it is going to happen. Whether it is running a half-marathon, taking on a difficult responsibility at work, or dealing with me every day, she just makes in happen.
  • Julie loves to travel. We share this passion. She loves to see new culture and experience the world. I am so lucky to have the world’s best travel partner who wants to see the world just as much as I do. I absolutely love that about Julie.
  • Julie is beautiful. She has an amazing sense of style.
  • Julie loves to read. She will inhale books. I am not always the best at this and she is such a good example of this. I know she will instill this love of books in our children.
  • Julie can roll with it. She is so low maintenance. She married into a well, let’s just say, interesting family full of very passionate people. She just rolls with it though. She can embrace new things, even if it isn’t what she is accustomed to.
  • She believes. Julie has an unshakeable belief in God and the Savior. Both on a simple scale as she teachers the sunbeams each week, and on a more deep scale as she shares what she learns through her personal study with me.
  • Julie has an awesome family. Such great people who are as kind and generous as they come and incredibly bright.

I think the thing I learned/recognized the most about Julie this year is that she has so much desire to do good in this life. Time and time again I see her finding ways to do good, she doesn’t care about the recognition one bit. I am so lucky to have Julie. She makes me so much better. I’d be lost without her. Happy Birthday Jules! Slap a comment on here about Julie if you feel so inclined.


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Better late than never.

Whoa, I got so distracted by all of those China posts that I totally overlooked Christmas. I realize this was like 2+ months ago, but hey, it’s always fun to re-live Christmas in early March. We had a great December, highlighted by Christmas and a trip to NYC to spend some time with family.


Just after we got our Christmas tree in early December – Julie decided to get crafty and make our own wreaths. I was skeptical, but they turned our pretty cool huh? We tried to do as much fun stuff as we could in December to highlight the Christmas season – we both love that time of year so it was easy. We went to see The Messiah at the Kennedy Center, went to see the Christmas lights at the Temple, and listened to lots of music. It was a really balmy and not cold at all December. The last two years, the winters have been in sane and full of snowstorms. This year, it has snowed once or twice I think, without really sticking. Now to Christmas;


Christmas eve we had our Eli and Julie traditional Fondue while talking about the Nativity.


Julie conveniently had to work on Christmas day so we had to get creative. We got up at 5:00 on Christmas morning and had about an hour to spend together before she had to head to work. We opened our stockings and presents and tried to enjoy the 90 minutes we had together as much as possible.


It kind of sucked that she had to work, but the kids at the hospital needed her, and I am sure it is a Christmas she’ll always remember. Santa even made it to the hospital that day – although I am not sure who the kids were more excited about, Santa or Justin Bieber who came and visited the week before (I know he’s a crazy heartthrob, but I think it is pretty cool he took time to come and visit the kids). Have I mentioned that Julie is the world’s best nurse? So Julie left for work, and I jumped on a bus to head up to NYC to see Tal and Anita and their new baby and my parents who were there (Julie had to work on the 26th and 27th all day – so we decided I might as well go up and hang out with my family – Julie then came up the night of the 27th).


My mom, the kitchen master that she is, whipped up and amazing Christmas dinner (plus she had Eggs Benedict waiting for me when I got there). We had a great dinner and a fun Christmas evening together Google+ ing with the whole family (you can video chat with like 7 different people at the same time).


It was so fun to see Tal and Anita as parents, and meet their new baby girl. Don’t they just look like awesome parents?! Look how little she is in comparison to Tal’s ginormous hand.


The next day I got to hang out in the city with my parents. It was really fun cruising around town with these two amazing people. My dad served his mission in NYC way back when, so I always enjoy being there with him and hearing about how it has changed since then.


We tried going to Ellis Island but about 58,409 other people had the same idea that day, so we decided to take a trip on the Staten Island Ferry. Look how white the city was that day (behind my parents). Just kiddin, the photo was totally washed out as it was so sunny that day, but don’t my parents look good in that photo. Those guys are serious globetrotters out there changing the world by helping strengthen families.


I took them to my favorite Japanese Curry place in the city. GoGo Curry. Mmmm. Then we went down to see “New York by Gehry” – a huge new residential tower in lower Manhattan. I love Frank Gehry. He is one of the most amazing architects alive (Guggenheim in Spain, Disney Concert Hall in LA to name a few). My dad called the leasing agent and told her he was interested in renting a place there and set up an appointment. Julie and I had tried to go in last time we were in New York but couldn’t get an appointment. Isn’t it a piece of art? I love it. The tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere.


We went up to an apartment on the 57th floor and these were the views from the terrace.


Not a bad view from your kitchen window eh? (above and below)


Looking straight up from the terrace on the 57th floor. How do you even come up with the plan for a building like this? Let alone build it? We might just have to live there someday (assuming I win the lottery or get mad basketball skills all of the sudden and go Jeremy Lin on NY).


After that, my mom and I went to the Met to see the newly redone wing on Islamic Art. It was really amazing.


My mom is my favorite person to go to museums with – she knows so much about art and I love learning from her. We sat here on the upper level and marveled at how many people were coming in and out.


That night, Saydi and her family came down from Boston. My dad had the idea to rent a limo and go cruising around the city. It was classic…cruising around blasting the music and dancing. The kids got pretty excited. Julie is loving me for putting this picture on – she is in the corner of a wide angle lens shot – which is never a good thing. My parents were staying at the apartment of one of my dad’s good friends on the upper west side. After the limo ride we got some desert and went up to the apartment and chatted away. This apartment had an amazing wrap around terrace. I had to go out and snap some photos. The clouds were moving really quickly that night, so it provided for some fantastic photo ops.


You can see Central Park off in the middle there.


Don’t those clouds look cool?


The combination of the creations of man, and the creations of God. Pretty cool juxtaposition.


The next night we went to a show called “Traces” it is a group of seven incredible gymnasts/athletes who left Cirque De Soleil and other shows to create their own piece. It was very impressive and entertaining.


The last day, Julie and I wandered around the city some more. I have wandered around that place for hundreds of hours, and I never get tired of it. I love that city. Here’s the interior of a church on 5th Ave….one that we hadn’t gone in before.


We went down to Ground Zero to try to see the newly finished memorial, but you have to have timed-tickets and we just barely missed. It was cool to see how far they come along though, Tower One (the tallest of the new buildings they are building) is already SOARING over the sky and they’ve still got a ways to go. Pretty amazing to see the transformation there.


One of my favorite spots in the city is the Brooklyn Bridge. Such a masterpiece. We took a walk out there (as did 34,594 other people that day – all of whom were Europeans – how do Europeans have so much vacation time?).


Here’s a place that I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of, but holy cow it is just cool. Look how it is pink as it is reflecting the sunset. Love that place. It was especially fun to have a wide angle lens to snap some shots with.


It was so fun to spend the Holidays with family. Man, I am lucky to have such as amazing family on my side and Julie’s….just good, good people. We lucked out. We came home and spent New Year’s Eve here in DC and then it was on to 2012. Now all of the sudden it is March and the cherry blossoms are almost here! This winter was awesome, no snow and rather balmy. I think Julie is turning me into a wuss when it comes to cold weather – growing up in San Diego did a number on her. Anyway, Happy Sabbath to you.