Valentine’s Day Surprise

Last year, I wrote a blog on Valentine’s Day about how excited I was for this year’s Valentine’s Day. And then this year’s day came, and I was not prepared for it.

Steve sent me flowers and we celebrated the weekend

Steve makes the office ladies jealous

before by going to the beach and eating at Rockin’ Baja’s. That may not sound romantic to you, but this is where we shared our first meal together…before we were dating! I’d call it our first date, except I distinctly remember paying for my meal. 🙂 We were “just friends” then. But it was still very special.

On the actual “holiday,” that so wonderfully landed on a Tuesday, we stayed in, ate homemade pasta and watched “The Wedding Singer,” just like we had the other 2 Valentine’s Days before.

Except, this time, we didn’t have to “go home.” Which made it special and unique from any other year before.

But here is my shocking discovery: Valentine’s Day felt like any other day. It wasn’t special from the week before or the Tuesday after. I found out that Steve treats me like a queen and spoils me rotten EVERY DAY of the year! I have worked at Russ Reid for almost 9 months now, and I have already received flowers at work 3 different times. Not to mention how many times Steve comes home with flowers for me. We have had special dinners out on random Saturdays, not to celebrate anything or for any other reason other than we just love being together.

We have bought gifts for each other just because, and have been successful in getting away for a weekend almost every single month since our wedding day. We don’t need a “day” to celebrate romance; we do it year-round!

Steve has always been good at spoiling me and doing special things for me all year long, even while dating. But marriage opens up all other kinds of ways showing love…love I have never felt or dreamed of having. I love coming home at night to Steve. I love watching TV while he plays a computer game. I love doing housework and making dinner together. Life just seems sweeter now when there is someone else to do it with. I am glad that we can keep finding new ways to celebrate being married!

Last weekend, we escaped for Washington’s Birthday weekend. We went to Solvang and stayed in a little motel in town and discovered the little secrets of the Danish. I had so much fun just being with Steve! We had Danish Pancakes, saw mini-horses, tasted wine with cupcakes, ate Pea Soup on whim (we saw a billboard advertising it!), ate underneath hanging spurs and wagon wheels, visited Mission Santa Ines and saw our first famous person!


Mini-horse farm!

Cupcake and Wine Pairing

Pea Soup Andersens

At AJ Spurs

Our discreet photo of Mama Mia star, Amanda Seyfried! (in the purple beanie!) She ordered aebleskivers in front of us before we realized who she was

We really had a great time. And being with each other, with no agenda except to just spend time together, made this little three-day weekend one of our favorites! I look forward to all the new (and old!) places me and my Valentine will be visiting in our lifetime.

Am I one lucky girl, or what?

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I once went camping in Yosemite. I wore a feathered head dress, “chopped” down every tree I could find with my plastic tomahawk, and hopped around like any non-PC child would do when being an “Injun.” This was my only memory of Yosemite.

There’s video. I was there. I enjoyed it. I gathered sticks to “make a fire” and I waded in a cool, flowing stream. But that was the last time we camped there. At some point in the Corkery family short-lived camping career, my mom spent hours setting up camp, and my dad spent 15 minutes stringing up a hammock between two trees, which he then proceeded to lay in and sigh, “This is the life” as Mom was pounding a rock on a soup can to get it open (or something like that.) After that, we never went camping again.

We have, however, driven through Yosemite several times.My dad never passes up an opportunity to visit a National Park, even if it is through the windows of the old Dodge Family Wagon. But camping? Not a Corkery strong point….

And I am ok with that. I can camp. I can sleep out doors. I can sleep in a sleeping bag and squat in a hole. I can eat squirrel roasted over an open fire. I’ve done it. In a third world country. I just can’t understand why in America, people spend time, money, and energy to replicate living like a resident of the hills of Thailand? You mean, I can stay in a hotel? Have warm, running water? Sleep in a cozy bed? Nah. I’ll take the dirt.

But Steve LOVES being a vagrant! I have an entire carport storage bin to prove it! So we have, to an extent, compromised. My Uncle Pat owns a cabin near Yosemite. It has clean water, warm beds, a kitchen, and a real life toilet! But it doesn’t have Wi-Fi so as far as I am concerned, this is roughing it!

It also has big windows that let you enjoy nature without actually being in nature. As soon as Steve’s friend, Mo, walked outside and said, “Ooo, I just flicked off a tick!” I knew being indoors was a good idea. I mean, there are a lot of things one should take from nature: the smell, the sounds, the cool breeze….but Lyme disease is not one of them. So I like the cabin.

My best friend, Leah and her boyfriend, Aaron, also joined us up at Uncle Pat’s Cabin (that’s what I call it…) I like having Leah around. Not only has Leah contributed to my many cabin experiences, she has also joined in on my third world country experiences, as well as your generic Bass Lake and Family Camp camping experiences. She gets me. (Don’t even get our mom’s talking about Family Camp….) She knows that I need some country and some city in my life.

So we mixed it up! We went to the Casino! However, Tim Tebow and I shared in a equally disappointing losses that night…he lost his playoff game, I lost at bowling. And I lost at roulette. I need to surround myself with less talented people… It was a great time, nevertheless, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way (well, it MIGHT have been nice to win our bowling game.) I even think I lost at Jenga that night too.

Since the casino is more my scene, Sunday we switched gears and drove into Yosemite. Aaron skillfully led the Mazda through windy mountain roads, dodging deer, dogs, and even human beings! And then, we entered the land of a million trees (and limited ticks!)

Our first stop: Yosemite Falls.

Yosemite Falls (As seen in Disney's "Soarin Over California")

It is here that we noticed the thermometer on the car no longer said “67” like it did near the cabin; now it simply read, “ICE.”

Yes, people. ICE. I “mean winter, as in Eskimos and igloos and penguins and ICE” (Cool Runnings…in case you were wondering!). I forgot what 30 degrees felt like. And I am also OK with that.

Then we made the trek. To return the ring to the fires of Mount Doom. Wait…I’m not the nerd in this marriage! But it really felt like that! We hiked up a steep path that probably takes normal people 45 minutes to walk….it took us probably an hour and a half. And I will take the responsibility for that! I mean, there were literally three-year-old children hiking that path. One was mocking me, I know it. I’d pass him, then rest, and he would walk by, smiling and saying, “Choo-choo! Next stop!” Then I would pass him again, and he would repeat his passive aggressive rants. Whatever kid. Wait till you start eating real, human food…then you won’t pass me!

We reached Vernal Falls. Thankfully. I’m not going to pretend I hated everything about being outside. I didn’t. It was really wonderful to see. We ate lunch at the base of the waterfall which was one of the best places I had ever eaten lunch. And we were all alone out there. No sounds except the crashing of water against the snow-covered rocks. I couldn’t ask to be in a better place; eating homemade sandwiches with my best friend and my husband (and Aaron too!). The hike up wasn’t so bad after all.

After arriving back to the cabin, we ate dinner, watched a movie, and sat in the hot tub. My kind of camping. 🙂

It was a great pre-birthday celebration and it just might become an annual trip. My Aunt Michele texted me today to show that the cabin was now frosted in snow. We just missed it! But I liked our trip. And I am sure glad I have a husband that compromises and understands my needs and desires, even if my needs and desires are to be inside, with a heater, and a hot tub….

(Steve will soon be posting more photos on his photo blog!)

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San Francisco–A Corkery Family Vacation

Steve has officially experienced a “Corkery Family Vacation!”

Our family’s vacations go down in history as some of the most memorable and unlucky trips of all time. Let me give you some little tidbits of some of our vacations (at least the ones I remember):

Hawaii, 1995. We stay at the “Coral Reef” located between an alley and the market. Excited 9, 7, and 6 year old girls race to jump in their resort pool: it was a lovely green color with the smells of garbage from the dumpsters behind it. Paradise.

Albuquerque, New Mexico. October 2002. Our van breaks down on our way to Pittsburgh in this lovely town. Does anyone know that Albuquerque hosts an annual hot air balloon festival? In October? Booking up all the hotels? This sends our family of 5 and Grandpa walking from hotel to hotel to find one vacant room with our luggage in tow. Grandpa’s wheezing, all of us are complaining, and what happens? Rain. Finally, some hotel clerk took pity on us and let us in.

New York City. Rush hour. The Corkery family picks this time to get off the subway to walk a “few blocks” to their hotel, dragging luggage through the hustle and bustle of hundreds of businessmen and women in Times Square.

Washington DC. In February. Walking through the Mall in the falling snow with no one else around (because who visits DC in FEBRUARY!?). Wandering around, looking for food, only to end up in the cafeteria of the Department of Agriculture. Classic.

Lake Tahoe. 2006. Mom takes a fall while skiing and gets a concussion that later leads to brain surgery. The next day, Brittany falls and breaks her arm. One trip. Two visits to the ski resort first aid.

Disneyworld. 2008. We get a great deal to stay at “All-Star Music” resort. Our room? The very last room in the very last building up against a swamp. We also hit some of the coldest days in Florida, sending freezing cold, grumpy mom back on the bus to the hotel by herself.

Hawaii. December 2010. Whale watching tour. We haphazardly crash a Christmas party that was on our whale watching boat. A “Biker Chick” Christmas party. Mid-aged, smoking, sagging, scantily dressed boozers dancing to “Mustang Sally” while the Corkery’s look for whales.

Pittsburgh, 2011. Everyone takes separate flights to Pittsburgh, including a mini-dachshund. Everyone makes it…except for mom. We were all there for her cousin’s wedding and she never made it.

San Francisco, Present Day.

Although Steve did get to participate in the Pittsburgh Corkery Vacation, this one tops that!

Steve and I arrived in San Francisco Saturday pretty early in the morning. We did a Priceline deal and ended up at the Hilton in Chinatown. For the price, it was a sweet deal with a great view and cozy beds, but that came with some costs.

A View Of Coit Tower from our Room

We walked a good distance through the Financial District with our luggage. Somehow, “luggage in tow” happens a lot on my vacations…

We arrived, checked in, and headed out to look for some cute little café for breakfast. But guess what? It must not have been morning in China because nothing was open!!! We wandered around, pathetically looking into restaurant windows, hoping something would be open. Nothing. Even Little Italy was all closed up!

So we proceeded to go to where we heard there was food: Ferry Building 1 in the Embarcadero. We ate at the first restaurant we saw, Boudin, right before Steve died of hunger. A bread bowl never tasted so good.

Steve unbearably hungry

After that, we went back to the hotel and napped until dinner with my cousins at Pier 39.

We woke up nice and early to the construction going on right outside our window. On Sunday. Yeah. Another thing I found out the Chinese don’t really observe. It was Steve’s birthday so we ended up going to Union Square that evening for dinner.

Celebrating Steve's Birthday

But Monday was game day. There were tons of Steelers fans walking through the city so we were pretty pumped up.

Game Day

We boarded the bus, which had a good mix of locals and out-of-towners ready for the game. But we were packed in there. And with Monday rush hour, plus game day traffic, the normal 27 minute bus ride took us a little over an hour. We stood the entire time, bracing each other during sudden stops and sharp turns. Not to mention the guy sitting near us who had something clogging up his lungs that he so stubbornly tried to clear out the entire ride. Think of “Snots” from Christmas Vacation under the table….

And there, in the distance, we saw Candlestick Park and couldn’t be more excited! We stood in the ticket line, each of us ready to get our purses searched and the pat down.

Standing in Line

When the last of us, Frankie, walked into the stadium…BAM! The lights went out.

We were all at the “are you kidding me?!” stage, and walked up the dark ramps to our seats. The power did come back on, and we were at least glad the game wasn’t cancelled. That would have been it!

We sat behind some pretty obnoxious 49er fans that stood the entire length of the game. My sister was not happy about that. Especially when the lights went out for a second time.

After some guy ran across the dark field and was tackled by half a dozen security officers, the game resumed. Steve and I also found out that because the power went out, all the credit card machines were down. Cash only = no food for us.

Then the Steelers lost terribly. Embarrassingly. Before the 4th quarter ended, a herd of Black and Gold, once towel-waving fans began the Great Exodus.

But to where, you ask?

The TWO HOUR bus line!! Yes, my friends, it took us TWO HOURS to get back on the bus to take us to the city! No one could tell us why. The security said, “This is an exception.” WHY?! And so there we stood, with hundreds and hundreds of other fans, Steelers and 49ers alike, in the cold, hungry, and tired. But wait!

The Line

BAM! The lights went out again. Now we are cold, hungry, tired, AND in the dark!

By 11, we boarded the bus back. We actually got seats this time and made it back to the city in no time. We walked back to our hotels, and Steve and I also discovered that NOTHING in Chinatown is open past 11!

Hungry again, we asked the front desk where we could get food, even if room service was available. Nope. But they did give us a menu for a pizza place that would deliver.

So we ordered pizza, which would arrive in 45 minutes. FALSE.

It arrived an hour and 40 minutes later.

Steve had tried to cancel the order but couldn’t get a hold of the pizza place. We asked the front desk to tell them to cancel the order when they arrived, but soon after Steve got into bed, our phone rang. Pizza was here.

The only upside to this is that while Steve asked for change for a $20, the pizza guy was in such a hurry, he didn’t realize we hadn’t paid, and neither did Steve. We got a free pizza.

So, at 1:15 in the morning, Steve and I sat in our dark room, on our bed, eating pizza out of the box. That is a memory we will have for a long time.

Tuesday was our day to go to the Walt Disney Family Museum. We originally planned for Saturday, but being too tired that day, we asked our family to go with us on Tuesday when they were there. We walked to my parents hotel, ready to go, only to find out that the museum is “Open Every Day Except Tuesday.”


As I picked up my shatter dreams off the floor of the Hyatt, we changed our plans. We did the tourist thing and visited Lombard Street, Fishermen’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Pier 39. We found out some people really hate the Steelers and glare at us the entire bus ride and not-so-inconspicuously snap photos of us on their phones, while others mumble under their breath that “you are standing in the crosswalk” when looking at the bus route map. In conclusion, San Franciscans really aren’t the nicest people.

Then Steve and I headed home.

What fun is a trip if it isn’t accompanied by a great story? I think Steve and I are going to have some pretty awesome adventures and we really did have a good time in San Francisco. We could have used a little more food and a little less noise from the construction, but we look forward to logging down our many trips in the future.

Here are some other pictures of our trip:

The gang

Steeler Fans Everywhere!

Check San Francisco off the List!

At Ghirardelli Square before the Game

Mom and Her Two Sons

Lombard Street

Talk about a Steep Hill!

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Mal's Musings | 4 Comments

PFB Biblical Marriage Class

“For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, shall cleave to his wife, and shall become one flesh.”
Genesis 2:24

Steve and I started attending The Biblical Marriage class at our home church, Pomona First Baptist. This was our first week and we really enjoyed it! It’s amazing to me how our Lord works: Juan and Nena Amaral used to be two of my AWANA leaders when I was in Kindergarten-3rd grade, and here they are as my friends while taking a marriage building class! I love Pomona First Baptist!

We are going to try to write some of our thoughts on each session, providing some “fresh” perspective on marriage as newlyweds. The series is entitled, “Experiencing God’s Dream for Your Marriage” and is DVD series by Chip Ingram which examines God’s design for marriage, with practical instruction to help you make your marriage what God desires it to be.

We haven’t had a chance to go through the discussion questions yet, but wanted to wet your appetites for what is coming! We are very excited and feel like we will learn a lot not only from the teaching, but also from some of the more “experienced” couples in the class. I will take ample notes just learning from how they dealt with some of the difficulties and joys that come with marriage!

We are both very thankful to have such a great church that offers a class for everyone! This will be great for us and I am glad Steve is excited to go to. If you are interested, visit the class’ Facebook page here.

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A Carbajal Christmas

This will be short and sweet. Steve and I have begun decorating for Christmas, which is my favorite holiday! I am quickly learning that this is another one of those passions that Steve doesn’t share with me, but he is putting up with it anyway. 🙂

Tonight, we put up our tree. It’s a little old tree that Steve acquired, but with some bright lights and tons of Disney ornaments, it looks splendid!

My Aunt Joanne made us the skirt as a wedding gift!

The Ornament we bought on our Honeymoon

I started collecting Disney Ornaments about 5 years ago when I realized that someday, I would be married and would have a tree that needed ornaments. So glad it’s here!


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We Need a Break

Steve and I are quickly realizing that we need a break.

 Even though we have been very good about getting away for a weekend each month, we recently noticed that our weekend getaways have turned into “Can we get this errand done on the way? Can we visit this person while we are there?” weekends and not so much about being with each other.

 More than once these past few weeks, I have seen someone comment or blog about how husbands and wives should set aside one night a week for a date night. And at these date nights, talk of work, money, or children (well, we don’t have those yet) is not allowed.

 Not having children, it should be super easy to go out, right? False. It’s still hard. It is so easy to get into a routine but hard to change it. We’ve finally established a routine and to be honest, I am not very happy with it.

Our routine for the past 7 months of marriage has been this: Monday – Thursday: come home from work, make dinner, watch a TV show, and then bedtime. Friday – Sunday recently has been filled with a million different events, ranging anywhere from grocery shopping, lunches with friends, and weddings. ITS INSANE!

 A few weeks ago, we both had to take a day off from work because it was really getting to us. For me, the house was getting out of order. I hadn’t washed the bathtub in 3 weeks and it was really getting on my nerves. I hadn’t had time to color coordinate the closet. Work was nuts and my “safe” place was out of control. Someone was going to break and 9 times out of 10, it is me.

 To be honest, it freaks me out to have to “set aside” one night a week. I. DON’T. HAVE. TIME. And plus, what are we going to talk about if we can’t talk about work or money?

 But we are going to try it out. And then I can report back to you! Because I bet there are a lot of married people out there that can really benefit from one night out with each other.

 I’m not sure what these date nights are going to look like, but I know we need it. I don’t want our first months as newlyweds to get lost in the mundane routines of life. Steve and I do spend an awful lot of time together, but it is not focused time. It is not “get to know you” time. It is “Do we have toilet paper at home or do we need to buy some” time. Dreadful.

 And we are going to get back into the groove of taking our weekend getaways without any other agendas. Sorry, people, my husband is the most important person in the world to me, so if it means we can’t make your birthday brunch this time, maybe next year. Because nothing can replace the warm feeling of spending uninterrupted time with the man of my dreams.

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Ode To Procrastination

I find that procrastination is a bitter sweet thing. It felt so good not to study in college…right up until 11:59pm the night before my midterms. Even the days following weren’t so bad…until my grades came back.
But now it’s more bitter than sweet. I’ve got a wonderful wife, family, and group of friends who won’t let me get away with it anymore. And I’m very grateful for it. 🙂
So thank you Mallory and Hillary (and mom!), for calling me out on it. Keep on me! And thank you to Chris and Heather Miller, of, for inspiring me to get off my butt and start shooting!
Click here for a glimpse at some of my earlier work and please check back here for more of what I love to do. Talk to you soon!


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