Saturday, November 5, 2016

Seven Years -- Anniversary Highlights

Seven many days, weeks, and months of moments shared between us over that time. We celebrated our anniversary over a full week, and two weekends, because of our legal-and-ceremony dates. We did a pretty darn good job of not going down the rabbit hole during our celebrations, and keeping our shared infertility anniversary out of the picture. Mostly. 

On Saturday October 22nd, we went out for a fancy dinner at one of our favorite fancy restaurants. We felt a little like we were scamming for free champagne, since they always ask if you are celebrating something and we'd been twice before fairly recently to celebrate our 10-year dating anniversary and my 30 book summer reading challenge win, but they served us anniversary champagne anyway. Who are we to say no to that? 

In a giant booth, snuggling up with our champagne
The food is just spectacular here, and we ended up getting exactly the same thing. This new curried cauliflower soup is out of this world -- it's got "cauliflower couscous" which is really three types of raw cauliflower chopped into couscous sized pieces, with a curry gel artfully arranged in the bowl, and then they pour the cauliflower soup puree over these things from a pretty carafe and you get to stir it up or not however you like. It is amazing. Then we both got the tenderloin, which is my new favorite because it has morels and a cabernet sauvignon sauce, a grilled carrot puree that is sweet and savory all at once, and this potato pave thing that's these paper thin layers of potatoes pressed into a dense brick of deliciousness. Amazing. We also had a bottle of Spanish wine that's new to them but not on the menu because of limited production, and so they said they serve it for special events or if people ask for "something new and interesting" and an earthy straight up tempranillo is a good match. We had a dessert wine sampler with the butterscotch creme brulee (with Marcona almonds on top!), so we could each try a taste of three different kinds. It was the perfect foodie meal for us, with perfect wine pairings and a snuggly giant booth where we could have a bit of privacy. 

The next weekend, we celebrated our ceremony anniversary by going to a fancy hotel that overlooks the valley -- made possible by me "winning" a silent auction bid at an event in March to fund fertility preservation for cancer patients. And...always tell people it's your anniversary, because when we checked in and we mentioned it, they upgraded us to a swanky jacuzzi suite! Now, it was quiet and that suite was probably going to be empty, but they didn't have to upgrade us and it was quite the room. 

View from our room
The room had a very odd Egyptian theme going on, so that you could sort of pretend you weren't 5 minutes from a giant mall and 10 minutes from where I teach. 
So what did we do in this fancypants jacuzzi suite? Well, we'd already had our fancy night out, and so we planned to get woodfired pizza takeout (there is no end to the delicious and safe gluten free food in my area) and chill out in the room. Maybe go swimming in the pool...but we had a late start from getting home from work and packing up and everything, so we canned the swimming. 

Instead, we immediately ordered the pizza and stopped off at a liquor store to get a half bottle of champagne. It's sort of a tradition to start any vacation (even a one-night one) with a glass or two of champagne from a little bottle. We've done it for every hotel we've stayed in for years now. So once that bubbly popped and the pizza was on the room's table, we knew we weren't going to go near the pool. 

The funny thing is, we had the most low-key time in this swanky suite possible. We don't have cable at home, and so we ate our pizza and drank our champagne to a marathon of "Tiny Houses," which I've never seen before and was strangely addictive and highly entertaining. We sort of vegged on the couch for a little bit, which seemed perfect after the insanely busy October we've both had. Holy hell, has it been nonstop. So it was lovely to just melt into the couch and mindless TV, champagne in hand. 

We did bring a special bottle of wine with us, that we had bought back in 2009 after we got engaged. Aptly named Carnival of Love, it's been in our basement ("cellar") for as long as we've been married, and the drink-by date ended with 2016 so it was a perfect pick! It was SO INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS. Almost smoky, and raisiny, closer to a port than a wine. I am embarrassed to say that I had a hard time opening it, and the foil cutting knife gave me a harder time than usual. When Bryce took over and just twisted it open, it turned out it was a screw-cap and I had just mutilated the heck out of it. Ooops.

Ah, Carnival of Love...and thank you, sir, for holding it.
Full size shot of the helper table guy we named Nebuchadnezzar, because it just seemed right. He was kind of staring down the bed, which was creepy, and also in the middle of the night it was off-putting to have some kneeling guy on the way to the bathroom. 
Once the wine was flowing we added to our HGTV and strange Halloween-themed travel and history shows (while Tiny Houses was fun, the rest reminded us why we DON'T have cable), the games came out. Because that's another tradition...whenever we go to Vermont, we bring games. 

This time I had a new one.

Bryce's puzzle. I am too embarrassed to show you mine, because I had a mistake in it...
Yes, that's a math version of Bananagrams, called Mobi. You have to make equations instead of words and when you're down to one tile you yell, "FLIP!" and everyone has to grab three more tiles until someone is out of tiles. When we play Bananagrams, Bryce HATES the "PEEL!" part, because he feels it takes too long to visualize the words and he gets under pressure and it makes him feel slow. Well, I now know how he feels because while my mind is fast with the words, it is NOT with the numbers. I mean, I did okay and had some nice complex thingies on mine (minus the error), but I had a zillion tiles left when he finished all his tiles. It was fun!  Also, you can see the scarred up screwcap in the upper right of the picture. Sigh. 

We followed this game up with Wine Wars, which is a nerdy trivia game about wine -- production, grapes, sommelier stuff, pairings, storing, blah blah blah. I won that one.

My winning board--I collected all the bottles in every category! 
Finally, the best sobriety test game ever...Memory. I don't have a picture of this one because it was getting late and my phone was being used for music, but it's a travel one with illustrated nature images. So there's luna moths, and hermit crabs, and bees on a flower, and kangaroos. It's the cutest game ever. I lost, though. Bryce holds his Carnival of Love better than me. 

Instead of swimming we took advantage of the jacuzzi. I sort of think it's a rule, right? If you have a jacuzzi in your room you HAVE to use it...or have a really good reason for not. It was very relaxing and I could pretend I was in a pool. Except instead I was in a bathroom the size of my living room. 

On Halloween itself we usually exchange Halloween cards, because we've done the anniversary ones on the 23rd. Last year we both gave each other mummy themed cards, which was strangely synchronized. Every year for four years now I get an Anniversary Ghoul -- a scary drawing from Bryce inside my card. It's fun to guess what it's going to be. The first one was a werewolf. The year after that was a Walking Dead zombie, very well done. Last year was a full color Pennywise from It. Which was TERRIFYING. 

This year? The front of my card was this: 

Inside it says, "I mean, BOO! What was I thinking?" HA HA HA
As soon as I saw the guy in the hat I knew. I KNEW WHAT MY GHOUL WAS GOING TO BE. 

Have you seen The Babadook? A film from Australia that is both smart and absolutely terrifying? Well, if you have, then you would think the same thing. 


And he was. As a POP UP, no less: 

AAAAA! Bryce is so talented, but AAAAA!
He popped up at me, and then I saw the background. Yeah, that's the view of our bedroom FROM OUR BED. So he's coming for me in my own space!!!! It was an excellent ghoul. SO UNSETTLING, especially because the pop-up feature is very accurate, but perfect. 

We gave out candy on Halloween, and basically had celebrated ourselves out. We made all FOUR trick-or-treaters happy with the full-sized candy bars we hand out to try to get a bigger crowd the following year (this is our fourth year doing that and still no dice). We ate pumpkin pasta bake with apple sausage. We had some wine. We watched a fabulous black and white horror movie (recent and foreign) called A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. If you haven't seen it, give it a go. It's beautifully filmed. 

It was a perfect anniversary, really. A weeklong celebration of our marriage that we've kept strong through so many trials, a celebration of our foundation that we keep strong for the two of us and for that elusive Mystery Baby, wherever he or she may be. 


  1. This sounds like such a fantastic bit of celebrating! I really admire you and Bryce's fun traditions that are so uniquely you. He is quite the talented artist!
    I love how you bring all those games. I live wordy games like scrabble and bananagrams, but that math one would make my head hurt!! Me and hubby's favorite game is Trivial pursuit, and we have several versions of it. SO excited that this year they came out with a new one, the 2000's, which will encompass out entire relationship, so that's on my wish list this year and I can't wait to play.
    I say take all the free champagne! You guys have a lot of special things to celebrate!!
    And I agree, that Egyptian statue would totally freak me out at night.

    1. THank you! We do have our weird little traditions, but they are important. Oh, I might try Trivial Pursuit again if they have a 2000s one, that would be fun. I'd probably blow the pop culture part though. :) Yeah, our Egyptian friend was spooky for sure.

  2. Oh, my. Is my mouth watering. That wine sounded spectacular.

    And the pop-up is so clever! Kudos to Bryce for his creativity.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed your celebration of marriage, and that I can participate in a small way by extending my congratulations today.

    1. It was all just SO GOOD... Bryce is amazing with creativity. This was the best (and most terrifying) Anniversary Ghoul ever. Have you seen the movie? It basically centers on a pop-up book...which made it even scarier! Thank you for your congratulations!

  3. That pop-up is eerily accurate. Add in the view from your bed and my hair is standing up on my body.

    This sounds like a lovely anniversary. My mouth is watering too. Thank you for sharing your celebration with us and wishing you both a lifetime more.

    1. Isn't it? His is ever so slightly friendlier than the original. He said he toyed with the one hovering over the bed but I may not have ever slept again, so I'm glad he didn't. Ha ha. THank you for your congratulations! It was a lovely anniversary.

  4. I'm hungry reading your blog! What great celebrations. I love the math version of banana gram. It makes me wish my dad was still here, because my mom and I used to play a lot of Scrabble, but although he played he didn't really "get" it. I think he would have rocked at the math equations. Also love the creepy homemade card. Happy anniversary and many more!!

  5. Happy Anniversary! Looks like you had fun. How fun that you played board games. My husband and I enjoy playing them, too.

  6. Sounds like a fab anniversary! I've been meaning to make cauliflower couscous for ages because I eat so much regular couscous but want to cut down the carbs. That meal sounds so good. I think the best thing is to throw yourself at every excuse for a celebration that comes along. For ages I got so jaded and depressed that the year just seemed like a big blur of nothingness. I used to think there was no point if you didn't have kids to celebrate things like Halloween and Christmas with. But embracing your birthdays, anniversaries and every event that comes along makes everything better and according to psychologists 'slows time down', ie the year isn't just a big grim cycle of getting up and dragging yourself to work day after day after day. So now I try to mark every occasion that comes along... The hub is a great artist by the way!
    Excuse the rambling.

  7. Happy Anniversary! That sounded like a perfect few days. I'm going to have to remember to mention it's my anniversary if we go away to a hotel for it next year just in case! Having a jacuzzi in the room would be very cool. Love your Boobs card, hahaha!

  8. Happy Anniversary! I love your couple traditions, so special and important <3

  9. Happy anniversary! You guys are just so cute with your traditions! Bryce is quite the artist and the BOOBS! made me giggle.

  10. Happy anniversary! You guys make an amazing couple. Sounds like you celebrated to the fullest.