Our dogs can't get enough of the California sunshine and neither can we.

This blog has been created to update you--our family and friends--on all of the changes we are experiencing since our little family moved back to the West Coast. Most notably, of course: the new little one who just arrived.

We encourage ourselves and you to learn the lessons of the sundog: nourish your mind with rest, your body with vitamin D, and your soul with warmth
. Oh, and don't forget to sniff when something interesting wafts by.

Love, Mary & Ryan

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

18 weeks, 30th B-days

Happy Holidays everybody!

Here are my first tummy pictures. I'm 18 weeks pregnant, am starting to show, and am now wearing maternity pants. I was putting off the latter as long as I could but it turns out they're really comfy!

Our due date is May 15th-ish and we are not planning on finding out the sex of the baby so that's when we'll know! We feel the most comfortable going the natural route and have chosen a wonderful midwife, Karni, who operates a lovely birth center in Ventura where our baby will be born. We have had two prenatal appointments with her and so far everything is looking great. Both Ryan and I really like her and she spends a lot of quality time getting to know us and answering our questions. So far my biggest pregnancy symptoms, besides the growing tummy, have been extreme fatigue the first three months (I think I slept through most of them) and heartburn with certain foods. I had slight morning sickness early on but no longer. Oh, and I totally have pregnancy brain! Either that or I'm just getting ditzy(er). One or the other. This baby is going to be a first for a lot of us in our families: first child for Ryan and I (3rd if you count the sundogs); first niece or nephew for my sister Robyn (2nd for her girlfriend Dana) and Ryan's brother Chris, sister Shanna and brother-in-law Jarred, and sister Shea; first grandchild for my mom Sally and stepdad Duncan, my dad Carl (2nd for stepmom Maria), Ryan's mom Suzanne, and Ryan's dad Tom and stepmom Lonna; and first great-grandchild for my Grandma Spaulding and Grandma and Grandpa Jacobs (3rd for Grandma Radford). We hope this child doesn't get too big for his or her britches, but with two oldest-child parents as well, it looks like it might be inevitable.

Ryan started last month at Thomson Technicolor and is a Senior Financial Analyst at their Camarillo location, not far from Ventura. So far it's suiting him very well and he's ecstatic not to be interviewing anymore (wow, does that get old). I'm pursuing freelance writing and editing jobs that I can do from home and that will hopefully work out well once baby arrives.

Ryan's mom Suzanne has been extremely generous and patient with us as we live with her while searching for jobs and housing. We're currently looking for a place to rent and will update everyone as soon as we have our new address.

After almost 10 years together and a little one on the way, we are planning to get married in a very small way on Feb 4, our 10th anniversary since falling in love in Florence (awww, shucks...). Although it's quickly approaching, we have yet to decide if we'll go to the Santa Barbara courthouse (where we were witnesses for our friends Travis and Miki when they got married!) or take a trip for it. Our friend Casson has offered to marry us-we'll let you know if we need you, tall C! We then hope to plan a party/reception for family and friends to celebrate the marriage and baby in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area sometime during the summer, when baby will be able to attend. We have lots of details to work out but will keep you posted. Our friends Gayle and Tyson did a reception last summer after they eloped in the Caribbean and it worked out well and was a lot of fun. (G&T also got together in Florence, although they beat Ry and me by about 4 months.) Here is a pic from their reception and our still-close-after-all-these-years Pepperdine Florence program friends:

Back: Milli, me, Kristen; Front: Travis, Tyson, Ryan, Gayle
[Photo by Miki!]

30th Birthdays/Holiday plans:
Our holiday plans include two nights in Santa Barbara for our 30th birthdays on Dec 20. We're staying at a dog-friendly hotel so the dogs can come along. Bogey shares our birthday as well and will be 7. (We adopted him on June 20 and the shelter said he was 2 1/2, so there you go!) We're looking forward to tiring the dogs out at the off-leash dog beach and going out for seafood. Then we will squeeze in time with the Radfords before driving up to Sacramento to spend Christmas with Grandma Spaulding.

We had a lovely birthday dinner with Ryan's family last Saturday night at The Greek in Ventura Harbor. Hello the big 3-0!

More pictures soon and we hope all of you have wonderful and relaxing holidays.

Looking forward to your comments and votes on this blog!

Love, Mary & Ryan

29th B-days, DC and SB

It's hard to believe it has been a whole year since we celebrated our 29th birthdays with friends in DC. Thanks to all of you who came out to Cafe Asia in Rosslyn that cold Wednesday night, it was such a great time. We don't miss the weather but we do miss you!

Grad school buds-Ani, Awi, Ryan

Grad school girls-Nidia, me, Rebecca

Nidia, Rebecca, and German (N&G were our regular dog sitters, Bogey and Lucy miss them and their delicious cooking terribly-as do we!)

Jen (grad school bud and awesomest Rosslyn neighbor) 'n me

Me and Miriam-St. Louis Park High School classmates!

Miriam and Jen planning female world domination

Knauss Fellowshippers-Sahrye, Heather (double duties as grad school friend too!), Emily, Kristine, me

Matt and Ryan thinking of a strategy to thwart Miriam and Jen

Fun at table 6! Deb, far left, my extra special 13th floor buddy at NOAA

Fellow Knaussers Leigh, Rachel, and Sheridan mad about something. Probably Ryan and Matt. Or the weather that night.

Sahrye (fellow Fellow) and Kyle (grad school friend/Monterey Bay Aquarium turtle), both triplets!

In Santa Barbara for Ryan's company's holiday party

Hangin with grad school girl bud Catherine (I get to see her lots now!)

Trying not to fall into ocean on Ryan's boss' sailboat

Watch out

Out with Catherine

At The Nutcracker in Santa Barbara with Shanna and Suzanne, Ryan's sis and mom. Only a few ballerinas fell during the amateur production.

Tall genes in the Radford family

Breakfast with Ryan's dad Tom. They look a wee bit related in this one, no?


Monday, December 17, 2007


This is why we call Bogey and Lucy "sundogs."

Last winter in DC:

This winter in Ventura:

aaaaaahhhhhhh......much better

The price Lucy paid last weekend for hunting lizards in the backyard: a bee-stung front paw resulting in hives and a puffy face. (Ryan is shielding her back paw from scratching her face.) A Benadryl and a few hours later, she's back to normal and ready to play with the bees again. Baby after raising a puppy? No problem.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Our pregnancy reactions

At first, we were like


but now we're excited

following our guts/hearts

and can't wait to teach him or her everything we know.