Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grateful Post #4

Every year the Christmas season brings a lot of emotions... at least for me. It is not only the most wonderful time of the year but it also brings a reflection over the happenings of the year. The restaurant is closed for 3 days every year at Christmas time. The 24th, 25th, & 26th. After what we call the "gauntlet" of December, it is a much needed break for everyone. 
So, during the 3 days of heavenly peace a lot of contemplation occurs since I actually have time to contemplate... and wow, what a year. To say that we have been blessed is an understatement. In fact it is so far away from the actual feeling in my bones that I cannot begin to type all the things that I am grateful for this year.... a grouchy old bully, a spunky new puppy, a home that simplifies every facet of life, a restaurant in constant motion, a job.i.love., an awaiting adventure in Indianapolis, a new life, a pilot's license, reliable renters, a husband.i.LOVE, a community that cares, friends that care, family that cares.... And I haven't even scratched the surface. 
Each day that I feel frustrated or stressed or like I cannot take one.more.complaint. it is important to focus on the big picture... the one that really matters... and to praise the Lord for the blessings that He has shared this 2011. 

And in the midst of my contemplation, it is overwhelming to think where this next year will go. What will I be saying at this point next year?! I cannot imagine... 
So to fill in the words that I cannot express, I turn to an old Christmas memory. A memory of family gathered around a dinner table singing God's praise for the blessings of the year. 

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Grateful(?) Post #3

I'm going to be honest right off the bat with this post... it's a difficult one. And not because I don't have plenty to say, oh, I have plenty to say- but because I promised myself this blog would be uplifting to revisit & read... That it would be encouraging to any other potential reader or blogger... 

So, in the attempt to not sound extremely tired, stressed out, overworked, overwhelmed, in-over-my-head, like I've lost sanity & very quickly may cross over to the dark siiiiiide.......

I am grateful for our new bar at the restaurant. : )

With an official 15 days under our belt, we are slowly starting to get a handle on this new endeavor. Are we great, no. Do people like it, yes. Do we know what we are doing half the time, no. Did we open it in the middle of our busiest month of the year, yes.... BUT, in true Cerulean fashion, would it really be any other way??? Nope. 
So, I am grateful for taking chances. I am grateful for hard work. I am grateful for dedicated people who at least care about something. I am grateful for opportunity. I am grateful for a challenge. I am motivated by the "what could be" & will continue to push until we get there. It is a new risk yet a new adventure & what would be the point of life if we were not at least attempting to make it better?... 

What would be the point of life if you didn't throw a little "spark" in there once in awhile. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grateful Post #2

The girls... oh, the girls. Where would I be without the girls?! Shortly after our return from rice fields & tuk tuks, I had another trip planned to visit with my college roomies in NYC. The timing was not ideal but I would give anything to spend a weekend with these ladies. Teeny lives in Jersey, Shoop lives in Chicago, Brit lives in Seattle, & well, I live.... you know. We try to do it every year & so far, have been quite successful. Although the jet lag was still looming in my recovering-for-2 body & the discomfort of an ill-prepared bar opening threatened my decision to go, I praise the Lord that I did!

There is nothing better than time with real friends. Friends that give you advice. Friends that tell the truth. Friends that want to know more than a simple one word answer when they ask, "How are you?" Friends that know you sometimes better than you know yourself. Friends that you can laugh with & friends that pick up right where you left off.

It was also a treat to be in NYC at Christmastime. This was a first for me & it was so invigorating to be around the jolly people, the pristinely decorated shops, & the enthusiasm that comes with being surrounded by creativity. So, despite the tired, it was purely energizing. 

And although I did leave the restaurant during the desperate month of December, I managed to get in a little research while touring the Big Apple. : )
The Breslin Lamb Burger
Dinner @ David Burke Kitchen

Brunch @ Spotted Pig
So, in this grateful post, I praise the Lord for my dear college friends. Because whether we are touring the big city or just laughing on someone's couch, their time & support mean the world to me. Each experience is one to be treasured & I only hope that there are many more to come! Merry Christmas roomies! Thanks for the FaBuLoUs time!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grateful Post #1

As I contemplate what it is I want to say in this blog, I can never sit down to put it into words. The past few months, well this whole year, has been such a whirlwind of emotions & change. I cannot begin to express how blessed I feel, how grateful I am, & just how dumbfounded I am when it comes to grasping the magnitude of what is really happening. Someday I will read this or my children will read this & I want to truly capture all the good, not the stress. I want God's work to be seen & I want to thank those who are so special to our lives. So I figured, as a start, I would list what I am most grateful for these past couple months that just haven't made it into words... 

For starters, our amazing trip to Thailand with some of the greatest adventurers out there! Erin & Brad, you are fearless & fun & despite all the signs telling us not to go- we did anyway! Disastrous flooding, career changes, & 5 month pregnancies could not hold back the Asian curiosity. It was once in a lifetime & we were so blessed to share it with you! Thanks for being our compadres on the roads less traveled...

Pictures do not justify the escapade that was experienced in these 12 days... but one thing is for sure... the food was amazing, the company even better, & the chance to ride with my love & my baby on an elephant through the jungle... priceless. I am grateful for adventure. I am grateful for God's protection. I am grateful for unforgettable memories. I am grateful for opportunities. And I am grateful for lifelong friendships that will never go out of style. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Number 2

As of this week, it is official... After 74 pages of documents being read page by page... After signing over all our personal assets in a Personal Guarantee... After writing a rather large check.... And signing on the many dotted lines... Caleb & I now have 2 restaurants....

Enter exclamatory, outlandish, holy you-know-what word here!

Wonder when it will hit me??

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Home, sweet home

Caleb & I officially took our longest vacation ever the past 2 weeks. We were gone for 12 days straight! And while we were having serious doubts about leaving... pregnancy, mid-bar renovation, puppy, no easy contact with the U.S., holiday season, severe flooding at our destination... we decided to say a little prayer & pursue the Thai adventure we had been planning for over a year. While the details of the trip will be saved for a later post, the thing I am most grateful for today is the fact that we returned to the States to be surprised by a restaurant & a home that were completely under control.... actually, even better than when we left. Now I hate to sound like a cynic but this is the first vacation we have taken that perpetuated this way. Our pup did not get arrested because he got loose in a kiddie playground & accidentally bit a toddler. None of our staff members got arrested. We didn't get an angry email about how horrible our restaurant service has become. The house was not partied in & trashed. There wasn't a 2 weeks notice on my desk that was dated the day we left. There was not a urine soaked mattress that had been fermenting all week resulting in a trip to the dumpster. And there wasn't a menagerie of Post-its on my desk requesting things like... more Post-its. No, in fact, it was quite the opposite. The dogs were happy & well fed. The restaurant had little to report out of the ordinary other than a regular customer had the "best meal of her life" one evening. And the major construction project that we left in the middle of was completed on time & even better than we had hoped! One minute we were stressing over paint colors & layout & how dumb it was that we were abandoning everything for 2 weeks.... And the next minute we return home to this....

...a new dining room & a bar in sweet motion. For the first time it not only felt good to leave but it also felt good to come home. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

building a bar

The time has come for yes... another project! Although we actually received our liquor license a few months ago, we have not been able to do much with it. The current state of our restaurant is already bursting at the seams & the idea of where to store liquor seemed utterly impossible... and literally impossible. If you don't believe me, come stand in our kitchen for 10 minutes on a Friday lunch or a Saturday dinner & see how many times you get run over. If you don't have a purpose- MOVE! : )
Anyway, we did the most logical thing one would do in a situation like this... we decided to build a bar & add more storage!

The first thing that was completed was moving the entrance. We just re-routed the sidewalk & added a new ramp with a couple side rails. Believe me or not, but people were actually quite confused by this. Although it does not seem too difficult to figure out where to go in, we managed to stump a few!

Then began the framing of the new dining room. This will be where we can host regular dinner service or larger private parties. Plus, these diners will have a clear shot to the bar!


The windows currently to the inside will be moved to the outside wall & replaced with double doors! It is a huge renovation for Cerulean...one that we have talked about since the day we opened... who knew it would actually become a reality 5 years later! It is humbling, exciting, & scary all at the same time! I mean, we have never run a full bar before?!! I guess that is part of the fun. : ) 

So while we wait for the renovations to progress, this is the current state of our garage at home... I wasn't lying about lack of space!

Monday, October 31, 2011

not quite the dream Halloween

Every year I get a little overly excited about Halloween. Not because of the candy or the cute kids in costume or even because I really even care about the holiday at all... It's because I like the excuse to dress up the dog. Yep, you heard me right- Banks in costume makes me laugh harder than a lot of things in this world & it is always a jolly time... at least for me. : ) 
Well this year I was doubly excited because I now have 2 dogs to dress up... a duo to ponder! I thought it over for a couple weeks & came up with the perfect plan! I don't care how you ridiculous you think I am, I was honestly excited. Here are a few successes from the past:

You can't tell me a bulldog dressed as a bull doesn't make the corner of your mouth curl a little. ; )

Anyway, this year had to be even better than before! So my perfect idea came in the form of The Dark Knight & the Joker! What a perfect pair for the pups! Except.... it didn't quite go as planned... Lenny absolutely hated his costume & I actually felt I may be traumatizing him a bit when I tried to hold him down to get his cape on. Then, the usually quite photogenic Banks was terrorized by the traumatized Lenny as he was trying to eat Banks' Joker hair. My photo dreams with the 2 of them together were shattered even after soliciting a friend to come over & aid in the shoot. Banks made his usual rendezvous to the restaurant to show off his duds while Lenny stayed behind.
This is what they should have looked like:

And this is all I have to reflect on the occasion...

I suppose, some ideas are better left to the imagination.