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

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hi there!

Dear Family & Friends,

Apologies for the long delay between posts. Procrastination is a sign of intelligence, right? Lots to update you on and thanks for your patience. Well, some of you have been patient....

Wanted to first give a special shout-out to all of our current globetrotting friends. They include:

  • Jen, who just headed off for a year-long post doing trade negotiation work in Ethiopia
  • Kyle, who was in Israel visiting family before heading to Indonesia for "culture classes"
  • John, in Mexico for language study and R&R
  • Kristine, just moved to England with her new hubby
  • Sara, on a new post doing development work in India
  • Rebecca, on a 6-month post in Iraq (almost done, yes?)
  • Nidia, doing development work in multiple locations in Central and South America - can't keep track of this girl
  • Heather and Ani, at environmental meetings in Europe recently or soon (?)
  • Yves and Jessica, doing environmental work and perfecting their Italian in Rome
  • Casson, another hard one to track, giving multiple environmental lectures in Africa and Asia
  • Travis and Miki, still kickin ass and takin names in balmy Toronto. How's that dollar doing?

Hope you all are doing well, enjoying yourselves, and soaking up lots of culture and good food. If Ryan and I can swing it, we'll pack up the new little one and head off to visit you all!

So hello and big hugs from home to all you travelers and drop a quick comment if you can. Sorry if I missed anyone currently abroad and if so, where are you and what are you doing?! We'd all love to know!

Now on to the feature shows........"Ryan and Mary Actually Get Married" and "Radford Spawn Snatches Small Woman's Body."

Love, m

April 13 Baby Shower Pool Party

In our typical fashion, we've changed our minds about trying to plan a marriage/baby party during the summer. We decided that a baby shower pool party a month before baby's due date would be a better fit. So please save the date of Sun, April 13, to join us at our place in Camarillo for an informal get-together (men, women, kids, dogs invited!). We'd love to see all of you but realize most of you are a plane trip (or two or three) away. If it doesn't work for you to join us, we hope you'll plan another time soon to come visit!

I will be sending an Evite to your emails with all of the details shortly.


29 weeks, Robyn and Dana visit

That's about 6.5 months (don't do the math from the weeks, it doesn't work like that!). I'm closer to 7 months this week.... Anyway, despite getting big and uncomfortable and feeling like this baby has snatched my body from me, I am overall feeling well and looking forward to meeting the little conquistador. Ryan was able to feel the first kicks through my belly last night, that was pretty cute. (I've been feeling movement for a few weeks now but they weren't strong enough yet to feel from the outside.) Suzanne and Shanna have gotten us motivated to plan our baby shower, more details in another post.

I want to give another big thanks to my Aunt Jenny and my Aunt Carol for sending me maternity shirts - they're currently make up most of my wardrobe that fits so I wear them a lot!

We just had a wonderful weekend with my sister Robyn and her girlfriend Dana. They came mostly to see my big tum and play with the dogs, right girls? We had a lovely dinner party with them and Suzanne, Shanna, and Jarred and they soaked up as much sun and pool time as they could get before heading back to the Minnesota tundra. It was so great to spend time with them and I can't wait to see them again when they come out to help with baby and doggie duties in May. Below are some pictures from our weekend. [Had trouble posting the pics for this one so no captions - Robyn's in the Twinkies hat, Dana's the Bogey cuddler.]


We got hitched

Well, we did it. For reals. We got married just the two of us on Feb 4, 2008, our 10-year anniversary, at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. It was a beautifully sunny winter day and the ceremony took about ten minutes, officiated by a former mayor of Santa Barbara. We originially were going to go with her standard ceremony wording, but the day before decided to work in a lot of our own. There was nothing quite like hearing a senior dignitary of Santa Barbara read Pearl Jam lyrics.

I've pasted the ceremony wording and pictures below. We hope you know that even though we didn't include you all in a big wedding, we love you and were thinking of you. Thanks for understanding our desire to do this in the small, intimate way that felt right for us.

Love, Mary and Ryan (The Radfords! Yep, I'll be changing my name....)

February 4, 2008 Ceremony: Ryan Radford & Mary Jacobs-Spaulding

Mary and Ryan, we are here to celebrate your love, your relationship, your 10-year anniversary, your growing family, and the legal commitment you are making during this momentous time in your journey together. From your beginning in Florence, Italy, to your side-by-side adventures in Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Australia, and the States, your travels now bring you here, to the beautiful Santa Barbara Courthouse, on the street you once lived, to commit formally to each other as you have done in love for 10 years.

I will read two passages that have great meaning to you. The first is a compilation of lyrics from two of your favorite songs:

This broken wheel is coming undone

And the road’s exploding
But you're keeping me strong
Rolling along with you...

Love is a tower
And you're the key
Leading me higher
When you let me in

Keeping us close...so close
On down the line

Sometimes I burn like a dot on the sun
With no one knowing
But you're keeping me strong
Rolling along with you

You are a tower
Of strength to me
The darkening hour
Sees light again

Love is a tower
Of strength to me
I am the shoreline
But you are the sea


Ah, is there room for both of us?

Both of us apart?
Are we bound out of obligation?
Is that all we've got?

I get the words, and then I get to thinkin'
I don't wanna think, I wanna feel
And how do i feel?

Hail, hail, the lucky ones
I refer to those in love

I swore to love you till the day I die, and beyond…
Are we going to the same place?
If so, can I come?

Hail, hail, the lucky ones
I refer to those in love

If you're my only one, so could you only one?
I want to be your one
Enough...you won, your one, your hun

All hail the lucky ones
I refer to those in love

Next, I will read a passage you found years ago that reminds you of the special connection you feel with your shared December 20th birthday:

When two Sagittarians come together, they form a brilliant union of truth seeking travelers. This duo takes on the world through educated lenses and shares the quest for new knowledge. They enjoy pleasant conversation and banter that challenges and entertains the mind. The best aspect of the Sagittarius-Sagittarius relationship is their enviable compatibility and their shared interest in a quest for knowledge. This pair has found the perfect balance between devotion and giving each other adequate space. Together, this couple will explore the world.

Now, please join hands and while looking at each other, repeat after me: (turning to groom)
I, Ryan, / take you, Mary, /
to be my wife. /

And now (turning to the bride) please repeat after me:
I, Mary, / take you, Ryan/
to be my husband. /

May you continue to each be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow and a companion in joy. Wherever you go separately, may you always return to each other in happiness. May you grow in love with one another all the days of your lives and have such fulfillment of your mutual affection for each other that you reach out in love and concern for others. May you share your love freely with your beloved families and friends, your two treasured dogs, and your new little one on the way.

I will end with this stanza by Maya Angelou:

I couldn’t tell fact from fiction
or if my dream was true,
The only sure prediction
in this whole word was you.

For as much as you have pledged yourselves, each to the other, I pronounce you husband and wife. Cheers to your love, this beautiful day, and your continued travels through life together.

Some pics from our day:

We were at the Santa Barbara Courthouse at 2:00 sharp for our appointment!

The fountain out front.

10 minutes later.....we're done and our officiant Sheila graciously took pictures of us.

Us and Sheila inside the Courthouse - she summoned a docent to take our picture, a former mayor sure gets to boss people around!

View of the old jail part of the Courthouse from the clock tower.

A view of another section of the Courthouse and out towards the ocean.

View of where we had our ceremony, down by the steps in the courtyard (where Miki and Travis got married too!).

Me (with eyes closed of course) and my baby tum.

Ry with the spire of the Arlington Theater in the background.

30 and married with a baby on the way...feels kinda strange but also fitting for our 10th year!


New place in Camarillo

In mid-January, we moved into a great 2-bedroom apartment in Camarillo. Thanks to Ryan's mom Suzanne again for housing us for so long and to all of Ryan's family for helping us move.

The best part of our new place is Ryan's 2.5 mile commute to work. He either bikes it or drives and comes home for lunch and a nap. Such luxuries! His job at Technicolor in Camarillo is going very well and he's in the process of being promoted to Director of their environmental strategy, or something along those lines, very shortly. He has maneuvered himself well and apparently has the most environmental knowledge of his colleagues - sad but true for all of us who are formally environmentally-educated! Ah, well, we can see our efforts working through him, right guys? : )

We're also a bit closer to LA - have seen our friends Gayle and Tyson a couple of times already and LAX is an hour away.

We've made our extra room into a guest room and cordially extend an open invitation to all of you to stay at our B&B anytime. We'll provide your own free bed and bathroom, fresh linens, full breakfast, and possibly even mints on your pillows if you're extra special; you provide the humor and good company. Reservations for May and June in anticipation of baby's arrival are booking up fast so don't delay in making those plans. Are you planning a trip to see us yet? Get on it already!

Haven't taken many pictures of the new place yet, but do have these of the sundogs in their new digs. Thank goodness we have a south-facing window that shines sun in most of the day. Gotta get that vitamin D.


Christmas in Rocklin

Ryan, the dogs, and I drove up to Rocklin (near Sacramento) to spend Christmas with Grandma Spaulding and Copper (most special senior dog in the Spaulding family) while Uncle Don, Aunt Jenny, cousins Kevin and Rachel, and their other two dogs were in Southern California visiting Jenny's family. We missed seeing the rest of the gang, but loved our time relaxing and eating with Grandma and Copper.

Have you ever tried posing 3 people and 3 dogs for a photo with a camera on self-timer? Here we are in front of the big Christmas tree, not succeeding at it.

Missing two faces
Lucy still blocking Grandma, Copper taking up the whole bottom of the shot. Wow, is he big!
Good one of the people, anyway. I think Ryan's starting to lose it...

The best of the not-so-great.

Nice one of Grandma.


30th Birthdays in Santa Barbara

We had a wonderful time in Santa Barbara, pampering ourselves and the dogs. Here are the highlights:

Ryan and Bogey minutes after we checked in at the Fess Parker Doubletree. They both have trouble relaxing in new environments.
A special treat the dogs don't get at home: on the bed with the people. We affirm why that night trying to sleep with them....
Room service, makes baby very happy....

Spending our birthday afternoon at the Santa Barbara off-leash dog beach - ocean on one side, cliffs on the other - perfect!
Terrier tails

Begrudgingly taking a break from running and smelling rotting seaweed for a picture.
Birthday boy
Birthday couple.

I'm happy cuz we saw a pod of dolphins and Lucy scored me a vertebra of a marine mammal (species still to be determined). Thanks, girl!

Bogey's 7th birthday present: a Kobe beef hamburger patty delivered via doggie room service. He had to share with Lucy (see her licking her chops?)

Our birthday dinner: Brophy Bros. seafood on the harbor with gal-pal Catherine and Ry's brother Chris. Thanks for coming out that night, you two!
Lucy checking out our sweet view of the beach across the street.

Sundog Bogey and Ryan before heading home. Again, having trouble relaxing.